Are you ready to handle your next company crisis on Twitter?

By Erika Heald
Best practices

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.

@SlackHQ uses Tweet threads to update their followers on a product bug they are experiencing.

  • Send a private message link. In cases when you need information from a customer that shouldn’t be shared publicly, you need to take the conversation private so you can help. If they're following you it’s just a DM away. But what if they’re not? You can invite them into a private conversation by sharing a “send a private message” link

@HPSupport takes a public conversation to Direct Message with a Private Message Link. 

  • Pinned Tweets. Keep an important Tweet with an update on the situation at the top of your timeline by pinning it.  Make sure you keep it updated and link out to a source of additional information. 

Put these tools into action to provide your customers with real-time responses that preserve your brand reputation—and their brand loyalty. 

Have more questions? Follow @TwitterBusiness for more tips on Twitter Ads, or check out the basics on how to create a campaign.

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