Social Media is a fast way to get the word out and build a brand digitally. But what happens when an employee says something that the digital universe doesn’t like - how is your brand on the hook and how do you respond to actions taken by employees in their off time or a social media team member who made a mistake. It’s a complicated process, but here are a few things you can do right away to keep your brand focused on business and not on employee’s rant or a teams mistake when they’re home during the pandemic.
Have a social media policy in place for all employees, owners and executives included. You need clear guidelines for how employees display, talk about and use your business on their personal channels. It gives clear expectations and also gives the employer a clear path if rules are violated. Cover things like confidentiality and how they are allowed to display your company on their private channels. Why is your business on the hook for mistakes made? It boils down to this, you hired them so you inadvertently inherit the mistakes if they aren't following proper social media guidelines.
Become a great social listener. Make sure you’re paying attention to tags and mentions about your brand, this can help head a crisis off before it gets out of hand. You should also be aware of world happenings and develop a process of professional communication to respond to trending issues.
You need a plan. Acting fast is important, in fact the most important part of a crisis online. A crisis communication plan allows you to respond quickly, professionally and put the odds of making it out of the crisis with your brand intact, exponentially better. This plan needs to address the following: Up to date employee information, Responsibilities of each department or person, A plan for internal communication, Process for messaging, Sample company messaging for digital channels. Just remember, during a crisis, people expect to hear from you.
Stop posting for a few days. A crisis is not the time to sell products while ignoring what’s going on. Take a few days off from regular posts and pay attention to responding and crafting messaging around the crisis.
Make it Official. You may need an official statement, a video message from the top level executive and multiple ways to make your point without arguing. Try not to engage in long conversations discussing what went wrong, instead focus on the actions put behind your response. How the company is evolving or changing in light of the crisis.