How to Handle a Social Marketing Crisis

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You click the tweet button and immediately, a wave of panic sets over you. Have you actually just done that? Yes! You have just tweeted to a local pizza agency that the pizza was in fact S**T. And, to make it even worse, you did it from your bosses business social media account!

First #socialmediafail – swearing.

Second #socialmediafail – complaining in public.

Third #socialmediafail – Tweeting from the wrong account.

So, how do you handle a social marketing crisis?

#1 Don’t Panic

In reality, you will always see a social marketing crisis as much worse than it actually is. In the initial stage of the social media crisis, it is important to keep your cool and not panic. Hard to do, I know. But in reality, nine times out of 10, social media crises are not usually as bad as you initially might think.

#2 Don’t Respond Immediately!

The best thing to do is to take a deep breath keep your cool and plan your response. Stand back and take a few minutes to look at the bigger picture and to see if anyone has responded. After all, it may be that know one has even seen your post or tweet!

Once you have stepped back and assess the situation, you need to plan steps on how to get it right.

#3 Don’t just Hope for the best or try a Cover Up!

In my experience, honesty is the best policy. If you have tweeted from someone else’s account or done something against your company’s policy on the business account, it is always best to own up and ask for advice. In the long run, your boss will usually appreciate that more than a cover up.

Then comes the stage of deciding on how to act on the social media crisis. If you have mistreated and no one is saying, it might just simply be a ‘tweleet’ (Delete the tweet)! Just remember that even deleted Tweets remain traceable in the Google Cache.

#4 Discuss Your Social Media Response

If people have noticed your mis-tweet, it may not actually be that big of a deal. Sometimes, a personal tweet from the business account is not that bad, especially if you are following the Golden rules and avoiding swearing or political attacks.

If you have mis-tweeted in error and caused an uproar, or your company has made a serious mistake, this will need to be rectified. I know that it’s hard, but try not to act on impulse. It is better to discuss this with your colleagues run bungeejumping and tweet back.

Remember that anything you tweet back or post on Facebook will be therefore to say and your response might do more damage than the original complaint if it’s not handled properly.

#Response and Evaluation

In situations of serious social marketing crisis, you might decide to get a good PR company involved. Remember that a PR company does play a slightly different role to social marketing expert on social media manager. They can advice you on your public image and help you to avoid the situation getting worse.

Sometimes, you can collaboratively plan a suitable response to be released on twitter or YouTube.

An Example of Good Social Marketing Crisis Management

The best response to a social marketing crisis was that of Bodyform, the ‘feminine hygiene product’ brand. A customer had posted on their Facebook wall their disgust with the misleading TV adverts.

Social Marketing Crisis
Richard’s complaint posted on Bodyform’s Facebook page.


Bodyform responded with a humourous and ‘myth busting’ YouTube video revealing the truth about periods. The ‘imposter’ CEO, Caroline Williams even drinks the infamous ‘blue liquid’ at the end of the commercial, and has a ‘fart consultant’! The video response was created in 2012 and now has over 5.5 million views.

Well done Bodyform for hitting the nail on the head with a comedy example of how to respond to a social marketing crisis!

If you enjoyed this article you might also like to read about 5 Common Content Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

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