Leveraging Social Media in Times of Crisis

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I have long believed in the power of social media to promote businesses. However, I wasn’t fully aware of the importance of social media in times of crisis until yesterday when a snow blizzard hit the city I live in. My sister was supposed to fly out but wasn’t able to get to the airport due to the heavy snow fall. The utter lack of information by the airline and the airport was staggering. They both have active Facebook and Twitter accounts, but did not know how to react to the crisis. They simply shut down while unanswered tweets and posts with questions turned into frustration and confusion.

What could they have done differently? Here are 3 things to consider for your business in a crisis situation:

1 – Communicate quickly and clearly

  • Immediately acknowledge the problem – don’t wait to find a solution.
  • Confirm that you are in control and working hard to resolve the issue.
  • Clarify which services are available and which are down (and if available an ETA on service restoration)
Your customers don’t expect you to be perfect. And they can actually be very forgiving if you acknowledge your shortcomings and show that you are doing your best to fix things.

2 – Provide constant and frequent updates
Provide frequent updates as you work to resolve matters. This keeps customers informed and confident in your services.

If applicable to your business, provide customers with a clear course of action on where to get information or have questions answered. Maybe put up an FAQ on your website and/or social media to lessen the load on you and your team.

Most importantly coordinate your online and offline efforts. It looks very bad telling customers on Twitter to call or email you if you are overloaded and unable to respond.

3 – Review the situation and learn from mistakes
Once the you are out of the woods, take a step back and learn from what you did well and not so well during the crisis. Make note of things that need to be improved to avoid this happening again or to improve your response should it happen again.

This is a good time to re-examine your digital marketing strategy. Consider whether investing in digital tools that further your business such as apps or a better website might be a wise investment?

It is in times of crisis that we find out which companies have spent all their social media efforts aimlessly chasing likes and followers as opposed to truly building and enhancing their business. When you focus on consistently providing value to your customers, even in times of crisis, the followers and likes come naturally.

Need a digital media strategy that promotes your business when times are good and supports it in times of crisis? Let’s talk!

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