Handling a Social Media Crisis

Social media is a wonderful marketing tool. Every day, people are finding new and innovative waysHandling a Social Media Crisis to communicate with each other through social media and businesses are no exception. From Foursquare locations and deals to hashtags and Twitter chats, you can reach a very specific client base when you need to.

But, what happens when social media gets out of hand? A number of businesses have been on the wrong side of a social media crisis. From hashtag hijacking to overwhelming response, things can go from bad to terrible in a matter of moments.

Here are some ways to get you out of that social media hole.

Don’t panic

No matter what kind of PR disaster you find yourself in, the first thing to remember is don’t panic. A panicked response is guaranteed to be worse than one that’s well thought out and well executed. Take a second to breathe before acting.


What went wrong? How? Why? Was there something you did that caused the backlash? While you might not be able to answer these questions immediately, you need to know where you are before you can move forward. If you can track back the crisis to where it started going wrong, you might find your solution.

Assemble your team

Social media crises happen fast. Really fast. Like, in a matter of hours fast. Have a team in place that’s aware of the time constraints of a crisis. If you can, run some drills. Know who has the good ideas in the room. You may have to step aside and let someone else take the lead. You don’t want to plan on a crisis happening, but you do want to be prepared for it.

Admit you were wrong

Things happen. People make mistakes. You shouldn’t ignore the fact that you and your company can make mistakes, too. People respond to genuine apologies. Don’t act high and mighty; admit your faults.


Social media is a medium based on communication. When people are upset and saying things about you, let them. Give it some time. Respond. Ask them what the issue is and how you can help. Don’t be condescending. Don’t be accusatory. In the same way that you can make mistakes, so can your customers. If you expect them to forgive you, you should be expected to forgive them. Do NOT brush your customers aside. Do NOT disregard them. Engage and start a dialogue.

What social media crises did you think were handed well? Which were handled poorly? Share in the comments below.


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Posted on November 4, 2013, in Biz Tips, Entrepreneur, Small Business, Technology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I think this is a great post! With the way social media has become such a significant part of life including for personal and business use, there is tons of room for error and sometimes hostile conflict. Firstly, because people can be very passionate about cyber-bullying and attacking different opinions. And secondly, because the wrong information can be spread VERY quickly through social media. It is awesome to receive some tips on how to productively deal with issues revolving around its misuse. I have been taking a social media course at my college, and have been recently informed about many more problems regarding social media than I knew to exist.

    • People can forget there’s a human behind the company Twitter handle. The important thing is to not take things too personally. You can move on from a mistake.

  2. I think that even though Twitter is a great marketing tool…it is also sometimes a hassle. You may have some ideas of how you want to promote your business but then you have to think about the constrictions and constraints that you are put up and you always have to make them appealing.

    • Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to always have the perfect tweet or status update, though. Sometimes social media is best used when you’re communicating, not pontificating.

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