How To Manage a Crisis in Social Networks – Every Company Has One From Time To Time


A brand’s reputation is built by solving three simple questions:

  • Who do you say you are? . How we communicate the message to our audience
  • What do people say you are? . How the audience receives the message and interprets and interacts with it.

In the connection and homogeneity of these three strategic questions we build the reputation of the brand or company, not only in the digital environment but also in the physical one. Therefore, brands leave in the hands of people any type of evaluation, positive or negative, about everything that the brand builds, communicates, sells or does in any field, from a social profile to a billboard or an event.

In this context, social profiles are one of the most important communicational elements for brands to connect with the audience and therefore with buyer personas and “fan lovers”. But it is a two-way and free channel where any anonymous profile without having anything to do with it, can interact and express their free impression.

It is at this point where crises arise in social networks. An open and volatile scenario where any brand can be attacked within its own profile or be mentioned publicly and that communication or digital publication transcends and be viral. Examples of recognized brands are thousands.

Are we talking about controlling the uncontrollable? , of worrying about what may happen, but that we hope never happens. Herein lies the main fear.

In this context, a dissatisfied customer, a troll, a bot, your own competition or an unknown user can be the cause of origin. They usually originate as a criticism or negative comment towards the brand that, if it also carries some type of emotional factor, exponentially increases virality. This fact causes it to spread rapidly through the interaction of the rest of the social community. The more relevant the brand, the faster it goes viral . 

But don’t worry, there are professional tools and methodologies to prevent, attack and emerge stronger from a crisis in social networks. 

Why Do Crises Arise In Social Networks

As we have seen previously, a crisis in social networks is something natural and innate that goes hand in hand with the growth of the brand’s social profiles in the digital world.

Positive, neutral and negative comments will always appear; and as professionals we must make the balance between positive and negative comments the most beneficial for the brand.

Reasons Why Crises Often Arise in Social Networks

Bad Brand Management

In this sense, an unfortunate comment from the brand can cause a digital tsunami if we do not control the message. A well-known example that happened to:

A bad experience of a real customer in the consumption or enjoyment of the product or service, generally accompanied by poor customer service.

The good thing about this point is that we can avoid it with efficient communication management, a well-worked publication calendar, a good practices manual, an anti-crisis plan, an action protocol in social networks….

An Attack From The Competition

This type of “unethical” actions by competitors is becoming more and more frequent, and depending on the sector, they are even becoming normalized. We do not share this type of practice and we are committed to healthy and enriching competition as in this example:

For this type of case we must protocolize how to act.

A Troll or Bot Attack

In this case, a troll is a person or social profile who continually and intentionally seek to provoke, generate controversy in order to have fun and / or generate conflict, leading to the use of insults, disrespect and offensive messages.

In this case, we must act forcefully and have a well-defined action protocol based on the level of alarm generated by the attack.

The best recommendation is not to start the conversation, monitor what he says and act only if we see that the crisis is getting worse. Always responding in a positive and neutral way.

How We Can Avoid It in a Professional Way

As digital professionals we cannot fear a crisis, it is something that will happen sooner or later and for which we must be prepared. As Salvador Dalí said: “Whether they speak well or badly, the important thing is that they speak about me, although I confess that I like it when they speak badly because that means that things are going very well. Nobody talks about the mediocre, and when they speak they only say wonders ”.

In this case, the best medicine is to have action protocols designed according to the degree of impact of the attack or crisis. So it is important as step one to define how we are going to measure the impact of the crisis.

Monitor The Brand, or Active Listening

Essential to have contextual information on the impact of your brand, your audience and your competitors. It is responsible for detecting a crisis in the first minute because the speed of response is the main factor in putting out a “digital fire”.

Fake News Detection System

It complements the active listening system and helps us in the face of the large volume of “infoxication” that we experience in the digital environment. Every day thousands of fakes and false news are published on social networks, already jumping to users’ WhatsApp. The problem is the speed with which they spread.

As a brand, if we operate in a sector where this type of information is common, we must from time to time publish publications denying false news, even if they do not impact our brand directly. In this way we will be working on trust and honesty , positioning ourselves as references and giving a serious warning to possible attacks.

Crisis Plan: The Best Way to Prevent Catastrophe on Social Networks

The Crisis Plan is the strategic document where we must work and design the scenarios in which the brand can be involved to establish a:

  • An anti-crisis team: it must be made up of a multidisciplinary team, for example the Community Manager, the CMO, financier, management, communication team … depending on the organization chart and team of each company.
  • Design plausible crisis scenarios : in an anti-crisis plan it is essential to design real scenarios that could happen and analyze and establish how the brand would act in each of them. The best thing is to never have to use them but if the crisis arises we will be prepared.
  • Communication action protocol : never improvise decision-making, understand that in crisis situations we must remain calm, think before acting and not take a wrong step. A protocol meets all of these rules.
  • Measurement and feedback : without measurement we are lost. It is necessary to measure the impact of each response, of each interaction of both the brand and the community that participates in the crisis.

Specific Communication Protocols for Social Networks

The Anti-crisis Communication plan includes all brand communication through all channels and all touch points or points of contact with the customer. That is why it is highly recommended to design a specific protocol also for each social network, because each network has its own particularities, Facebook is not the same as Instagram or Tik Tok

Tools That Will Make Our Lives Easier

Like any digital area, we have to accompany the methodology and professional processes with professional tools that make our lives easier. There are many, paid, free, with greater or less scope.

Here we leave you only 5 platforms , from the free one to one of the most professional and expensive on the market. Everything will depend on the type of brand we are, the resources and how strategic the brand reputation is within the business.

  • Google Alerts: free and from Google what else to say; it would be the minimum level of monitoring possible. At least work the alerts with the name of the brand and those keywords that are strategic.
  • Social mention: it is free, basic and easy to use also to complement with Google. It allows us to analyze the reach of the brand in the environment of social networks.
  • Buzzmonitor: we can try it in its free version and if it convinces us to go to the paid version. It allows you to monitor your own brand and the competition, generates brand reports and trends in social networks.
  • Brandwatch: it is paid but with adjustable rates. They also have a relevant influencer marketing platform. It has a database for measurement, from websites, forums, social profiles … it generates reports on brand sentiment and trends.
  • Radian 6: one of the most expensive and complete on the market, with more than 150 million sources in its database. Custom reports, advanced search filters … recommended for brands where the brand reputation is of high impact and strategic in the business.

What KPIs Should We Have Controlled

We could not finish this post without giving you 4 KPIs to help us control and measure the brand reputation and therefore help us in the face of a possible crisis in social networks.

  • Volume of mentions: it would be the number of times your brand is named in conversations on social networks.
  • Share of voice: the level of user participation according to the distribution of total mentions.
  • Scope of mentions: total users reached by mentions.
  • Sentiment of the interactions: the evaluation of the mentions based on three registers: positive, neutral and negative.

Also Read: How to know and take advantage of what users say about your business and your competition on social networks

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