Social Media Crisis Management Plan; 5 Steps for Evaluating Your Response

Social Media Crisis Management Plan; 5 Steps for Evaluating Your Response

The year 2020 has been an interesting year, and has had social media marketers asking more often than not, “should we pause our paid media and hold publishing content?”

It’s certainly the right question to ask. And the majority of brands have implemented their crisis management plan by drastically cutting back budgets on paid media campaigns, pausing social media promotions, and halting influencer programs in reaction to the nation-wide shut down due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Then, just as things began to pick back up the #BlackLivesMatter movement was reignited and once again brands stepped backed (or stood up in solidarity) to let other voices be heard.

However, in early June, our team witnessed a variety of different activities from brands that had us raising our eyebrows. Some brands continued to run ads and others required influencers to publish content. Some of these brands saw backlash while others did not. It made our team continue to think about the question above and how brands should be adjusting their social media strategies when a crisis or major social event occurs.

Because these strategic adjustments can vary from brand to brand, we put together the following steps and considerations your brand should take when developing your social media crisis management plan.

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Step One: Pause Everything

The simplest and easiest thing your band can do no matter how big or small the current situation is to pause everything you plan to do that day. Turn off your ads, make sure any scheduled content is unscheduled, and communicate with influencers that they need to hold off until further instructed. While it may seem like overkill, it’s going to make sure you don’t say or do anything you wish you could take back.

Step Two: Consider Your Audience

Before you make the decision to resume any ads or create any new content, think about your target audience and how they’re currently being impacted by the situation. We say this because every crisis is different, from a global pandemic to an activist movement to a celebrity death and more. Each of these types of events could elicit a different response from your audience, and you need to see where they currently stand to help inform your next move.

Step Three: Remember Your Brand Voice

Let’s also remember to take a step back and remember who your brand is, what your brand values, and what tone of voice your brand holds true. Some events may have nothing to do with your brand and thus you should plan to not participate in the conversation. Other instances may directly relate to key messaging pillars you uphold, so you’ll need to begin crafting content carefully.

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Step Four: Evaluate Existing Materials

Now that you have an idea as to if you’re going to move forward with publishing or not, the next thing to do is evaluate the content you were originally going to publish and decide what to do with it. Some of you may push the content to another day, some may scrap the content all together, and some may decide messaging simply needs to be tweaked and can then resume as normal. Again, this is going to be different for every brand, but as long as it aligns with what your audience wants and who your brand is, you shouldn’t run into issues.

Step Five: Create a Back-Up Plan

Plan A isn’t always the way to go, so it’s important that your brand is flexible with your decision and has a back-up plan on hand in case additional adjustments need to be made. Additionally, no matter when you decided to begin publishing content or running your ads, make sure you have someone constantly monitoring those assets to know when and if plan B needs to be put into place.

As we said before, every situation is different, every brand is different and thus every crisis plan is going to be different. And while you can’t plan for everything, you can always take the time to hit pause and evaluate your next steps.

If your brand is looking for a social media agency partner to help develop a crisis management plan, contact us using the form below. We’ve been a trusted partner to some of the world’s largest consumer brands over the past 13 years and look forward to helping more brands like yours in the future.

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