Social media crises: be superfast

This week, Virgin Media came under fire for sending a broadband bill to a deceased man. When his son-in-law posted the bill on Facebook, the story went viral with over 53,000 people sharing it among their friends.

It took Virgin two days to respond on Facebook – a lifetime in social media. So this week’s PR tip is to have in place a social media rapid-response plan.

Do your research. Gather a team of people and think about the type of social media crises your company may face, then prepare responses before they hit. Being able to predict crises will enable you to better manage them and respond quickly on social media.

Be flexible. Ready-made responses may not be enough so you also need to prepare yourself for comments by fans. Personalise your responses - fans will be angry if they think they’re getting an ‘out-of-the-box’ response. Provide them with a solution, is there a number they can call or an email address? Just agreeing or disagreeing with their comment isn’t enough – they want answers.

Monitor. There are plenty of excellent social media monitoring tools out there – use them to track sentiment and identify problem areas. This should help you to put your resources in the right place.

Treat a social media crisis the same you would any other crisis. Be prepared and respond in superfast speed.