It’s every PR team’s nightmare. Your company is hit with a crisis and the Tweets start pouring in. Are you ready to handle it?
Chances are at some point in the next 12 months your company will need to communicate a difficult situation — ranging from product bugs to a systems outage. Furthermore, almost all of your customers expect a response to their social media queries in less than 60 minutes. And that’s when things aren’t in crisis mode.
Having a documented plan is key to keeping your cool during a stressful situation.
Key elements of an effective crisis response
Your communications plan should include:
- Crisis scenarios. Include both events you can anticipate (extreme weather or a systems interruption) and those you can’t (leaked news or executive misconduct).
- Your communications response framework. Who is authorized to reply? What is escalated and to whom? Where is the official source of truth to reference? What level of compensation, if any, can affected customers be offered? It’s important to be ready to communicate directly to customers as soon as possible.
- Your friendlies list. What influential brand fans and advocates can you reach out to and ask to help spread your message?
- Prepared landing page or FAQs. For issues you can plan for, have a microsite ready to be deployed. For instance, if your company experiences winter storm-related shipping delays, it’s helpful to have a landing page the public relations team can update that outlines the service disruption.
Twitter tools to enable rapid response during a crisis
Twitter has several built-in communication tools for brands that can help you triage your responses and make it easier to keep your messages organized.
- Threaded messages. As much as we love short Tweet updates, that’s not always enough real estate to convey what’s going on. One way to easily get around this issue is by using Tweet threads. Threads are a powerful way to illustrate a larger point or provide ongoing status updates.