Communicate Effectively in a Digital Crisis

Breaking News: not every story is a good story. Dealing with negative feedback, reviews, and news is a difficult practice to master. People devote entire careers to crisis communications, and they will all tell you no single crisis is the same. When a crisis arises, make sure you can communicate effectively.

Develop a game plan before there is even a crisis. Preparing your communications team for a potential crisis is a great way to make sure you can deal with them should they come up. This should be included as a part of the regular communications plan. Take the time to brainstorm some negative responses you could be enduring and the best way to respond to them.

With a plan in place, make sure you are monitoring your channels. If negative reviews start to gain momentum, that is the time to gather the troops. Play investigator and make sure that you get all of the facts on what is happening. The biggest mistake you can make is responding immediately without educating yourself on the issue.

Social media is a great tool in a time of crisis if you know how to use it. If someone tweets something negative to you or posts a negative review on Yelp, don’t ignore it. Answer the comment as best you can, but try to take the conversation to a direct message or something off of a public forum. That way, you can get more details from the person while also making them feel heard and it keeps the conversation from polluting your feed. It’s a great balance. Side note: not every comment is constructive to warrant a response. Some people are trolling so use your discretion on that.

Once you’ve released your statements, it’s time to monitor some more. It can be stressful sitting and waiting for a negative response to come back, but you’ve done your part in responding and addressing the issue.

In a crisis remember: keep calm, don’t panic, and breathe.

photo credit: fireboat895 via photopin cc

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