Big or small, all companies on social media go through a crisis at some point. Whether it’s a problem with your company itself that ends up manifesting on social media or a careless employee posting a questionable tweet to what they thought was their personal account, few brands make it through completely unscathed in the digital age. When you’re confronted with a social media crisis, it’s important to act quickly and decisively to address the concerns of your customers so they don’t lose their trust in you. Here are the steps to take when confronted with a crisis so you can work it out in a way that is consistent with your brand: Identify the crisis and its source:before you act, you have to know what you’re up against. Was this something that went wrong internally (like that careless employee who intended to tweet to their work account but didn’t), or is this something external that is just now being brought up on social media (such as a major defect with your product that customers are noticing and taking to social media to discuss). Is this a crisis or not:everyone gets negative reviews on Facebook or has a mean tweet sent out about their business once-in-a-while. That does not a social media crisis make. It is a social media crisis if it is a departure from the norm (you usually get one or two negative Facebook reviews in a month and you’ve gotten 50 in the past hour) and it has the potential to impact whether or not people will use your business. Talk to your social media manager: hopefully they were the one who alerted you to this issue in the first place, otherwise you might need to start looking for someone new. Ask them how this issue came to their attention, how long it has been happening, if anything like this or with this customer has happened in the past and if/how they have responded to this incident. Then work together to develop an acknowledgement post, an internal investigation of the incident and an apology to your customers. Acknowledge that something happened: you don’t have to know all the facts or who was responsible to know that something went wrong and customers are upset. Create a post—on the platform where the issue originated—letting your customers and fans know that you are aware there has been a problem and you are looking into it. Figure out what happened: figure out what happened and quickly. Trace the problem back to its source, find out who or what (if anyone) was at fault and then decide what action needs to be taken internally (does someone need to be fired, do employees need some kind of additional training, does the method of manufacturing your product need to change) to make sure this never happens again. Be thorough, but also try to be quick. The longer customers go without hearing from you, the more rumors will start to circulate. To delete or not to delete: many social media crises are caused by inflammatory comments posted by disgruntled employees looking to embarrass a former boss or workplace or careless employees who think they’re posting to their personal account. It is up to you to decide whether or not to delete this post. But remember, by then someone will have already screenshotted it and there is no way to get rid of that. So don’t try and pretend like the post never happened. Say you’re sorry:and mean it. There’s not much the American public can’t forgive with a sincere apology. Explain how this problem came about, how it has been handled within the company and how you are taking steps internally to make sure nothing of this nature ever occurs again. Then immediately get to work putting those plans in place. Customers will forgive just about anything once. But if the same thing happens twice, it will be much harder to gain their trust back. In the meantime, you can always call the experts at Skynet Solutions for all of your social media and marketing needs. We have an expert team that can build you a social media strategy that will work on any platform or any combination of platforms that you choose for your business. Whether you’re targeting specific customers or just want to spread the word about your new business, we can handle it. We also have a talented development team who can build you anything from an e-Commerce website to custom software. With our diverse range of skills and experience, we are sure to have the tools you need to make 2016 your business’s best year yet. To get in touch with us, you can fill out the online contact form on our website. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedInfor more information about our services, updates from our blog and marketing tips and tricks.