How Brands Brace for #Crisis in the Social Media Age: The Playbook

The recent hack of @AP and subsequent Wall Street panic slash Dow plunge has once again showed how an alarming event in social media can have a damaging effect.

All sorts of social media crises are on the rise – not just brands seeing their accounts hacked, but errant four-letter words uttered in official tweets, ill-thought hashtags used as “bashtags” by critics, mistreatment of highly vocal highly influential customers and tone-deaf communications during natural tragedies – just to name a few. Sadly, the majority of these sort of #fails could have been prevented with proper preparation on the brands’ part, according to research by the Altimeter Group.

We’ve witnessed first-hand the growing risk brands now face. We’ve seen how social has empowered everyone from the consumer watchdog to the “vocal minority” to the socialized activist group. Try picturing “United Breaks Guitars” or Motrin Moms or “Artic Ready” without social media and you simply can’t conjure the same effect. Social media has transmuted the news cycle – local news swiftly becomes a global story and the iPhone-wielding bystander spawns tomorrow’s front page.

Stories have always had a deep impact on our hearts and minds, but social media has evolved the art of storytelling  and many brands now see how content gives them new ways to connect emotionally and earn belief with their customers – in good times and bad.

So what is a brand to do when faced with a crisis? More importantly, how should a brand prepare for a crisis?

Digital Crisis

We set out to answer these questions and ended up writing “Our Playbook for Digital Crisis Management 3.0.” Born out of our global experience preparing for and responding to brand and corporate crises, it’s now part of our global training program.

We wanted to understand how social media was fundamentally changing the way we approach crisis management. We wanted to marry established crisis practices with the most evolved thinking in social media marketing and social business practices. We also wanted to be highly practical – today’s experts need a suite of apps they can quickly access when a crisis threatens to break.

Check out a “Preview” of our playbook here (or below).

by Rachel Caggiano