Marketing Student Views

Perspectives by GMU Internet Marketing Students

“Did that really just happen?” Social Media Crisis Management

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Blogger: Diane Wells

We have all seen that one post, picture, tweet, etc. that has made us ask, jaws dropped, “did that really just happen?”  Social media problems arise every day in today’s society.  A company has the option to fix it or fall deeper into the hole of crisis.  According to Ozgur Alaz, author of Ozurg Alaz: 7 Steps For Social Media Crisis Management, there are 7 steps for social media crisis management.  These steps include:

  • Preparation
  • Knowing relationships
  • Knowing stakeholders
  • Choice of strategy
  • Micro management/ Know your tools
  • Abundant records
  • Social media statement

Preparation 

Alaz stresses the importance of preparation when it comes to social media crisis management.  There are three components of preparation; eliminating risks, competent in social media, and tools to manage crisis.  According to Alaz, eliminating risks increases your brand value.  Eliminating risks also relates to the competence of social media in your company.  All employees need to be knowledgeable of social media; eliminating the threat of those who are not by providing informational advice, will greatly benefit a company by taking away the threat of employee mistakes.  The last preparation must is the need for crisis management tools.  An example Alaz uses is the use of a crisis meeting room.  Preparing for a crisis is a must do in terms of management.

Knowing Relationships

Building relationships is another key component of social media crisis management.  Alaz states that social media can get to a lonely state because there are millions of users to interact with and few companies to befriend.  He believes the company needs to create relationships and retain people who will defend the company.  He calls these people/companies “brand friends”, he also states, “Brand friends know you, trust you and defend you when it’s necessary.”  This will in turn lead to loyalty and trust in your company, as well as a “friend” to help back you up during crisis.

Knowing Stakeholders

Stakeholders are the people who are invested in your company.  Alaz stresses that a company must get to know its stakeholders in order to come up with a strategy.  He also states that stakeholders are not just customers; they are employees, suppliers, government, journalists, and investors.  According to Alaz, “it’s important to create a stakeholders map and think about their motivations and communication channels that lead to them.”  This is vital to the creation of the company’s strategy.

Choice of Strategy

Alaz writes that it is important to know that a company’s strategy will change frequently based on different situations.  This being said, a company relies on scenario analysis and keeping their employees updated.  He explains that there are some strategic decisions to be made, which include; “What’s your message?”, “What’s your attitude?”, “How will you create plausibility?”, “Will there be any official statements made? How frequent will they be?”.  These all are great questions to ask in order to be fully prepared for any issues that arise.

Micro Management / Know Your Tools

It is important to be able to micro manage questions/comments that arise.  Alaz suggests each member of the crisis team answer questions via their personal twitter accounts; allowing more questions to be answered.  He states, “The reason I recommend to use employees’ accounts is that by doing this you’ll start a dialogue instead of just “answering” and it’ll feel more convincing and genuine”.  It’s all about creating the relationship and providing useful information to your audience.  Another necessity of crisis management consists of knowing your tools.  Knowing your resources and communication channels will help when applying the strategy.

Abundant Records

When a crisis occurs it is imperative to have abundant records in order to defend your company.  Alaz explains that records can range from camera recordings to positive comments on your social media site.  All of these records will help you have an advantage over the crisis situation.

Social Media Statements

Alaz points out three things that need to be treated with care.  These include timing, simplifying the message, and actively using your advertising channels.

Final Thoughts:

Now that we have gone through Ozgur Alaz’s 7 steps for social media crisis management, I leave you to be the judge of these two social media crises listed below.

AppleBee’s:

Image

A waitress posted this picture and was later fired for violating one of AppleBee’s rules.  AppleBee’s was ridiculed for firing this waitress; they defended their decision to the end, which did not help them at all.

KitchenAid:

Image

An employee accidentally posted this on the company’s twitter account; the head of KitchenAid brand sincerely apologized and explained what happened.  This honesty was a plus for the brand.

For more examples visit:

http://oursocialtimes.com/6-examples-of-social-media-crises-what-can-we-learn/

Articles referenced:

http://www.psfk.com/2013/08/social-media-crisis-management.html

http://oursocialtimes.com/6-examples-of-social-media-crises-what-can-we-learn/

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