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Crisis Management on Twitter

April 10, 2015 by Mainak Biswas under Digital Marketing Internet Marketing434 views
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When it comes to information dissemination, social media is increasingly replacing traditional forms of media. Of all these social networking or social media tools, Twitter has emerged to be the most important for companies when it comes to offering customer service. It is increasingly being seen that Twitter is also great at crisis management, no matter what the situation is. It offers a kind of immediacy and intimacy that other social media tools cannot. Facebook, though more “personal” is not really personal when it comes to Facebook pages. However, Twitter can be very personal when you need to mention someone directly or send a direct message.

Impersonal as it may seem, Twitter is a very powerful form of personal communication tool that can be used in times of crises. Twitter presents an explosive opportunity to bring disruptive change and focus on crisis management. It helps companies to address issues that previously required a lot more effort and resources. Moreover, the kind of immediacy that Twitter provides is second to none.

In this article, let us take a look at how Twitter can help you to manage crises that may occur from time to time.

1. Be prompt

Whenever there is crisis, it is important for you to be available on Twitter to address questions directed at you. Prompt responses to queries and anxious tweets will only help you to build a positive image. This is one example of making use of a negative situation to build your image. Always make sure to answer every query no matter how frantic, in a prompt manner.

When you respond immediately to frantic tweets, you have already solved one problem. Anxious customers usually say things that they do not mean to and when you delay a response, it may soon get out of hand. Before a crisis situation goes out of hand, respond promptly and effectively. If you are unable to solve the problem immediately, give the customer or client a certain time period within which you can solve the problem.

Just knowing that you read their problem will help them to calm down and the crisis situation gets deflated. If your company deals with services and products which may cause medical or legal emergencies, hire a special team for managing your accounts on Twitter.

2. Show empathy

Whether it is a small problem or something huge, always be empathic. Do not sympathies with your audience but make sure that you answer their queries and really try to understand what their problem is. You need to walk in their shoes or at least imagine what it might feel like, before responding to queries or problems.
Empathy usually solves a lot of problems that is usually created during times of crisis. If you are able to prove that you are not just another automated social media account that mechanically responds to crisis related queries, you have already set yourself apart. It is important to do this because not many companies handle crises effectively.

When you display empathy, kindness and understanding, your audience or followers will know that you are a company that is not merely interested in profits but also in the well being of customers and clients in times of crisis. So, do not forget to display your empathic side and ensure that there is genuine kindness involved. This will take you and your brand a long way.

3. Inform and educate

Sometimes, managing a crisis involves informing and educating people who are unaware that there is a crisis. You need to be as professional and kind as possible, especially if it involves breaking bad news. If it involves breaking unfortunate news, it might be a better idea to personally call up the customer. However, minor problems and issues can be announced and informed on Twitter in a quick manner.

This helps clients, customers and audience to save time and take action. When you inform people about an existing crisis, you must also inform them how you are going to manage that particular situation and what role is expected of them. Usually, you should ensure that they need not do anything except being aware that there is a crisis situation unfolding and that you are at work trying to resolving it.

This will keep them in loop and help you to avoid a situation where you may be blamed for not informing them about the problem in hand. Educating also involves directing your clients, customers and followers to act in a certain manner. If they need to be directed to do something, do it so in a brief manner. Avoid sending several tweets for one particular instruction as that may confuse your followers.

4. Be honest

If you messed up on something, own up to it. Do not deny or hide the fact that there is something wrong. If it is your fault, all the more reason to own up and ensure that there is a foundation of honesty. An honest company will survive even the toughest of battles. You should ensure that you will be able to answer every query and every frantic tweet in a calm and composed manner.

You should be honest about what the crisis is all about as dishonesty can turn into a crisis in itself. When you reveal the truth no matter how harsh it is, you will find that you are in safer hands. People are incredibly tenacious and they have the ability to withstand all kinds of crises. You just have to have the courage to break the news in an honest manner.

In fact, if you are honest in your tweets, you will be respected for it and you may even earn the goodwill of your customers in spite of the crisis situation. you just have to ensure that you are not hiding anything and prove that you are trying to do what you can to deflate the crisis situation.

5. Be humble

Humility is one of the most important factors of managing a crisis situation. When you are humble and when you admit there are things that need desperate attention, you have already proved to your audience that you are humble. Do not be arrogant or condescending towards your audience as that can backfire very badly.

When you admit that there are things that are going wrong and when you are humble enough to admit what really went wrong, people will begin to respect you more. As stated earlier, this helps you to build goodwill in the long term. Customers respect humble companies more than arrogant ones. Humility is known to be one of the most important factors while choosing a brand or company.

For this reason alone, you might probably want to remain humble and modest. When you are faced with a difficult situation, do not try to beat around the bush or evade questions from your followers. Instead, answer with humility and be honest about what really is going on. Also, be honest about and humble about your intentions to resolve the crisis situation.

Final thoughts

Twitter is increasingly being used as a platform to address crisis situations by a number of companies. As more people begin to use social media to access information about companies they do business with, it will become increasingly important to have a deft team that is capable of resolving issues on Twitter, within a 140-character limit.

This character limit is not only a challenge but also a boon for crisis management teams, as they can quickly address queries without having to beat around the bush. When you are faced with a crisis situation, try to use Twitter effectively in order to resolve whatever problems you or your customers may be facing. Throughout the process, remember to be polite, honest, humble and informative. Small gestures go a long way when it comes to social media and it is especially true of Twitter.

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