@Cristinadlg / November 07, 2018

How to manage a social media crisis. Prevention, trolls and other monsters

The ability to viralize content on social media is a double-edged sword that gains steam when it comes to destructive comments. This post is not intended to be a manual on how to manage an online reputation crisis, rather a collection of lessons we have learned over the years (and the damages). 

Gestión de crisis en redes sociales
Good crisis management on social media should be based on a real and honest argument with the user. | INNN

No need to be on social media to suffer a crisis of reputation in them, but precisely that is why it is essential to be. It seems logical that if your company does things right. you should not get negative reviews, right? Well, at INNN we can assure you that this statement is utopian for two reasons: you can not like everyone (you are not a croquette) and in networks everything is magnified. 

“Publications on social media have become a new, and more effective, claim sheet”

And it is that if something spreads faster than light that is the indignation in social media. You do not believe it? Search in Twitter “What are we angry about today?”. This joke that takes years tweeting every day is a true reflection of the idiosyncrasies of social media. 


Are you ready? Lets go!

The day to day in social media is (almost) unpredictable. When you converse daily with your community, you expose yourself to answers and interactions of all kinds. Therefore, preserving good reputational health goes through a thoughtful communication plan, which can only be based on data. Why analytics is important for managing brand reputation is something that we discovered in INNN a long time ago. Anticipation, strategy and control are the only ingredients we know to get through any crisis, 

Let's avoid detours, here i summarize the key points to anticipate a reputational crisis.

  • Find yourself on Google, and on Twitter, on Facebook, Instagram, and even on Pinterest. Active listening and monitoring are two essential prevention tools when it comes to controlling your online reputation. Keep up to date with what you think of your brand, directly or indirectly, in digital media. Many times the root of a crisis can be detected even before it comes to light. and thus it is much easier to face it. 
  • Analyze all possible scenarios. Put on the table the “hot spots” of your brand, those milestones that can generate a negative feeling or feed the trolls. Having al these casuistry under control will improve the speed and efficiency of response.
  • Establish a crisis committee. There are decisions that a community manager can not make alone. If a criticism directly concerns the philosophy and values of the company, the opinion and point of view of clients takes a very important role to consider before establishing the strategy.
  • Create a plan of action or contingency. Now, we have all the information necessary to design an action report that prepares us for the battle. This should include the main argument, specific lines of action and even standard responses to refute the destructive comments.
  • Avoid eliminating comments at all costs. It may be tempting, but you will be signing your sentence. Unless it is insulting or disrespectful comments, do not delete it from your timeline. Find the answer that most benefits both or, in the case of Facebook, hide it so that only he and his followers can see it. Eliminating a criticism can be the beginning of the end. 


A negative comment is not a crisis

As in a relationship, a 5-minute tantrum is not the same as a “we have to talk”. That they “troll” you a little is not a reputation crisis and is almost part of the game in social media. The good work of the CM is also to detect when these destructive comments affect your reputation or not.

The object of criticism, the dimension and the public or stakeholders involved are factors that become essential when setting the alert status. let's see with an example.

  • Level 1. There is a recurring negative comment. Several users have made a critique on the same subject.
  • Level 2. A relevant or influential user has initiated or joined the protest.
  • Level 3. In addition, the content directly affects the values or credibility of the company.

In a theoretical fourth level, the crisis would jump from digital to traditional media. But tranquility, we will not let it reach this point.

Gestión de crisis en redes sociales
Every daya and every minute is a learning about what your brand is generating in social media

Focus the problem and analyze it

A dissatisfied customer, a misunderstanding, an unfortunate publication, a rumor? Here the range of options is as wide and varied as brands exist in the world. Therefore, having all the possible scenarios contemplated will facilitate correct management when the time comes. Sometimes, the cause may be linked to the legality of the communication actions themselves (promos, raffles, contests, data protection…). To avoid this type of misfortune, the best remedy is to be up to date with the laws that regulate digital marketing.


It's time to take action

Once the focus is detected, the first question we must ask is “Are you right?”. My mother said that apologizing when something is wrong and offering a solution is also “well-born”.

“When it comes to managing a comment, speed is rewarded, but precipitation is punished"

Time plays against when dealing with “outraged” users. The challenge is to make the most effective response in the shortest possible time. The “trolls” and “haters” inhabit social media and feedback thanks to the power of interaction. Against unfounded criticism and destructive comments, the best response is a dose of reality. The main argument of a reputation management plan must be honest, real and, preferably, based on demonstrable facts. We do not know more resistant pillars to face any reputational crisis. 

To emerge victorious from an attack does not mean lowering the guard, there can always be traces of the conflict. Carrying out continuous monitoring of the critical issue will keep us alert and forewarned for a hypothetical upcoming battle. Weapons? Monitoring of keywords, daily interaction with users and anticipation of relevant milestones that can reactivate the focus. 


Ways to face a crisis

A very good practice is to analyze how other brands have managed the attacks on social media. Put the icing on the cake with a case of managing “criticism”. 

  • Against the trolls, 'troll them'. Making a flag of “if you can not deal with the enemy, join him” there are brands that join the criticism, and have even made their position in social media. A clear example of this is seen in this Cruzcampo tweet.
  • Silence gives consent? Maybe you remember the confrontation of Greenpeace against KitKat. Passivity, elimination of comments and a late response was quite expensive for Nesté.
  • An exemplary management. If we put the methodological keys to face a reputational crisis on one side, and the impeccable management that LEGO did against Greenpeace on the other, we would have a perfect symmetry.

At INNN we are very aware that brand reputation is everything. For some time now, the management and dynamization of Social profiles has been joined by a methodology of active listening and analysis of information that can alert us to a possible online crisis. 


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