SAVE THE DATE: Sleep Summit Oct 8-11, 2024

How to Prepare for a Social Media Crisis

The question businesses face today is not whether there will be a social media crisis, but when.

On today’s episode, co-host Julia Rosien, Vice President at Restonic, gives us practical tips in how to identify a percolating issue online and how to address it before it escalates.

She discusses how to implement a strategy (hint: it’s not as expensive as it may seem), who to designate as a spokesperson in the event of a crisis,  the importance in building community, and provides a timely reminder that time is always of the essence. 

For more on social media crisis management, listen or read her latest FAM article, How to Build and Manage Your Social Media Crisis Plan.

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FULL TRANSCRIPTION

Mark Kinsley 

furniture appliances mattress. What do you do when a crisis smacks your company or your community in the face, how do you respond on social media? Do it wrong and you can pay a heavy price. Our crisis communication guide is here to help Julia Rosie is our co host and the fam marketing show starts right now. Welcome to the fair Marketing Show strategies, tips and ideas to help retailers and brands grow their furniture, appliances and mattress business. We’re talking about a heavy topic, my goodness, crisis communication, social media, we know how the bullets start flying on these platforms whenever something goes haywire in your business or in your community. And we’ve got some real world stories and examples with our co host, Julia Roseann with Restonic. Juliette, thanks for being back on the show.

Julia Rosien 

Thanks for having me back. I appreciate it.

Mark Kinsley 

As always, we got to start with this trivia question. Adrienne, hit us with it.

Adrienne Woods 

Okay, I have a social media question. Social Media Marketing question. When Mark Zuckerberg first thought of the idea of Facebook, what was the original name? Do you guys want choices? Or do you think it was the

Mark Kinsley 

choices? Give us the choices? And we’ll save the answer until the end? Okay, Shawn, you can always weigh in at fam dot news on our podium number.

Adrienne Woods 

Have either of y’all seen? I think it’s the Netflix show for Facebook? You have? Okay. So is it hot or not? The Facebook or face smash the original idea? What was the name? Hot or Not the Facebook face Smash,

Mark Kinsley 

weigh in for us. And at the end of the show? We’re going to reveal the answer. I have my guest Julia, do you have your guests? Have my Yes. Okay. Now you want to talk about crisis communication. You can’t leave Facebook out of that conversation. So take us into crisis communication in the social space and start with this story you told me because you live in Canada, and something went way wrong. And you saw how the company responded.

Julia Rosien 

Yeah, something went wrong way wrong. Rogers communication dropped to the internet right across the country. So not only was it dropped for, you know, homes where I work from home, but businesses, hospitals, emergency 911 services, were down for an average across the country for about 10 hours. So if you were a Rogers consumer, which not everybody is, there’s other telecommunication networks in Canada, but it is the biggest by far. So a lot of businesses had to close a lot of hospitals had to go on, you know, hope and a prayer because they do everything. Everything’s up in the cloud. Everything’s, you know, managed by Rogers. So bad enough. It’s a bad enough situation, because it really showed us how connected we are and how much we need everything that’s, you know, attached to our devices. What was really bad was that the president of the company didn’t come on until seven hours after the crisis was well in play. And it was a very thin apology. We’re so sorry. We’ll let you know when things are backup. So it wasn’t until the next day that then the government started demanding answers why had gone down because the company had not come up with anything. I think the at this point, now we’re a week into it. And in our Wi Fi down my wife, I was down for a whole week because it blew our motor mode. And we couldn’t get that replaced. There was no service technicians. So the the end answer was it was a maintenance issue. Oh, again, so sorry. And we’ll give you five days credit on your next bill. So not good enough for businesses that had to shut down restaurants, you know, big department stores, small stores, nobody could do any business that day. So yeah, it was a certainly a mess. And the, you know, if I was one of the telecommunications companies that was not Rogers, let me tell you, I launched a social media campaign, the hour that thing went down, and I have been targeting everybody. Right. And

Mark Kinsley 

yeah, there’s more than one way to navigate crisis communication. On one hand, you think this is something happening to my business, like it did to Rogers. On the other hand, if you’re a brand that’s competing with them, and your network is still up, and you can use this as an opportunity to take market share, you can hop in and be very relevant in the social space, digital space and beyond, and potentially pick up customers that are very, very unhappy. And like, like you described, they were not going to instil any loyalty in their Rogers customers, because people understand with when things happen, but it’s what you do about what happens that matters the most. And that’s your chance to really turn people off or switch them back into raving fans. I’ve seen it happen many times.

Julia Rosien 

Absolutely. It’s all about keeping the communication line open. And I think there’s, there’s an opportunity, you know, it also depends on what credit crisis crisis it is. It’s something that goes down or something that goes wrong and the company doesn’t respond. Certainly there’s opportunity there for other companies to come into it and say, you know, we’re here to help you, we’re here to service you, which is a great opportunity. If it’s a local event, or even a national event where it’s a tragedy, something has happened. There’s, there’s a different crisis plan involved, they’re a much different one, and there is no opportunity there, there’s the opportunity is to keep your head above the water and not get slammed by a community by doing something wrong. So you know, that’s one tricky waters to navigate on social media. But I think the biggest thing, especially with Rogers, is that you there is no company that is too big, that can nobody’s made a Teflon, every company is at risk for a social media crisis. It doesn’t matter how big or how small you are. And I’ve always been a firm believer that you have to have a crisis plan in place. And people talk about crisis plans for like, well, that sounds complicated, and it sounds, it really isn’t complicated. It’s really, if this happens, then that happens, if this happens that that happens. And if you have somebody managing your social media, if, for example, it’s a national tragedy, so there’s a, you know, a shooting, you know, there’s, there’s a lot of deaths involved. If this happens, then this happens. You call the president, you call the owner, you call the manager, no decision is made by yourself. If it’s a customer service issue that has snowballed into all of a sudden, everybody’s piling on that customer service complaint. That’s a different if this happens, then that happens. And so you have to have all those scenarios in place so that you as a company, know how to navigate those waters. And they’re pretty rough and choppy when things go bad.

Mark Kinsley 

And I think there are times whenever people don’t even know, a crisis is afoot. I think about a question. I literally got asked this morning. So there was a film crew, and I was helping out with a film crew doing an early morning shoot. And one of the guys said something about jobs. And I’m like, Yeah, I’m in the mattress business. And one of the videographers said to me, he goes, literally last night, I was on Tik Tok. And I was looking at this, this story about, you know, mattress firm and the money laundering. Nonsense, right? And so it took a while, I think for Mattress Firm, to realise they had an online mini crisis that was unfolding with all these conspiracy theories, saying, How can you have one mattress firm on one corner on another, and nobody’s ever in there. And I’ve never seen people in the parking lot. So anyway, I think majest room eventually did respond to that there was a podcast that went out about that. So sometimes you have to even just pay attention, like with social listening tools, and ways that you can tap and understand what’s happening in the social space to understand like, what is what is really going on here, even if it isn’t something a very apparent, and in your field of view, for example, happening in your community. In those type of situations. How do you think about response Julia?

Julia Rosien 

Well, I think first of all, what you said about social listing, that’s 100%, you need something in place, you know whether it’s a simple tool like Hootsuite that allows you to schedule and listen, that’s, you know, incredibly important. But I think it comes back to knowing who’s in charge of your social media, and then knowing the parameters they can operate in. So if they have the autonomy to answer, a crisis till it gets to a certain point, and then once it develops into something else, then they need to know where to go for help. And the players in the company need to know that the leadership needs to know what’s going on there. So you know, we shouldn’t be acting in silos when it comes to managing social media, because nothing happens alone in social media. Because if it’s happening in social media, it’s probably happening in your customer service. And those two players should be connected with each other. So they, they can work together and make sure that they’ve got the same message going out that one’s not telling one thing and the other one’s telling something different. So open communication is by far, the biggest thing.

Adrienne Woods 

Absolutely. In your article, I think the most practical and tangible piece of advice that you gave was in the event of a social media catastrophe or crisis, shut off all automated posts, because I think we have all gotten accustomed especially with Hootsuite to sit back and be like, Okay, I’ve scheduled out my next week’s worth of stuff. Well, you know, life can happen on a dime. And the last thing you want to come across as tone deaf, right? Because you had something planned and then life happened. And now all of a sudden, you have an even bigger problem on your hands because you weren’t paying attention to everything that you had pre planned. Right.

Julia Rosien 

And you know, people have pushed back with that, you know, when you when I say you shut off a automated messages, and we’re talking about a tragedy here, not necessarily customer service issue, but a tragedy, for example. And they say, Well, why would you shut off your automated post because you don’t shut off your TV advertising during a tragedy. There’s still commercials on TV, there’s still commercials on the radio. They’re not social media. You’re not building a community on TV or on your radio station. People expect that social media is a lot more nimble and that you can act with a lot more you know, With quickness and decisiveness when it comes to social media, so I agree shutting off automated posting, as soon as you’re aware of a tragedy, that’s certainly the most important thing to do. Because you don’t want to be tone deaf, you don’t want to be, you don’t wanna think you’re not listening, you don’t know what’s going on in the world.

Mark Kinsley 

I’m talking about our industry a little bit, take us into if you’re a retailer, or a brand, and I’m talking whether your mattress furniture, appliances, on the retailer, or brand side of things, do the same kind of principles apply whether you’re on the retailer or brand side of things, since the retailer, in many cases tends to be closer to the consumer? Did they have more of a, a duty or, or kind of a an expectation from the consumer community to step up whenever things happen and have a voice? How do you think about those two different worlds between manufacturer and retailer?

Julia Rosien 

Well, I think we all have an obligation to our end consumer, certainly, you know that if you’re on social media, then you have whoever your end consumer is. So the retailer for sure, has a much closer relationship because they’re in their communities. And they’re interacting with them on a much more daily basis. Whereas manufacturer, you puppet and Puppet you’re not in the same level of isn’t the same level of relationship. So I think from a retail standpoint, I think there’s a bigger opportunity to get into a lot more hot water when it comes to a crisis, because you’re just that much more connected. And the expectation that you’re connected and that you’re listening is there. So there’s, there’s no, there’s no forgiveness in social media. If you say, Well, I didn’t know. Well, that’s not a good enough reason for not, you know, if there’s a tragedy and you’re still posting, I didn’t know is not a good enough reason. That’s part of being in the world, you have to be connected to it. So I think there is a real danger for them. And I think that they can get into a lot hotter water too, because retailers don’t have that kind of media training to understand how to navigate if it’s a consumer problem, for example, and you have a customer complaining about a delivery or product, whatever it is, or if you’re in a restaurant, for example, and they’re complaining about the waiter and they start barraging, the person that’s that service them is a retailer who’s ever managing that social media can but cannot come back and say it didn’t happen like that, that would never happen in my store. You’re in a dogfight with them. That’s the worst thing you can possibly do. So our strategy on social media, and when I talk to retailers is pretty, it’s pretty simple, like 123, I should have three numbers instead of four. So 123, the first thing you do, it doesn’t matter what that consumer has said to you apologise, because that’s the left, that’s the last thing they expect you to do. And it diffuses their anger. So it doesn’t really matter that you’re in the wrong or not the wrong, you just apologise, diffuse the anger. And then you say thank you, again, not what they expect. But they’ll be thankful for that. So I’m really sorry, this happened. Thank you for letting me know. This is my phone number, give me a call. Take it offline. And I don’t mean taking it into email because emails can be copied and posted and taken out of context. Take it offline and get somebody on that phone with a consumer who knows how to navigate through that conversation and can defuse the situation even more.

Mark Kinsley 

Great tips. I love the playbook aspect we have here. Excellent Julia, thank you for the great piece you wrote for the fam. So it’s up on fam dot news, you can just go there and search for Julia and a pop up all our articles, which are fantastic. And probably the podcast here we’re doing with her as well. And thank you for the rundown on how to navigate crisis communication and social space because we know this is a Marketing Show, but your marketing and your brand, and the way that your brand interacts with people and what people think about you is all connected, especially in the living, breathing, sometimes crazy world of the social space. And the social space is also known for really funny, hilarious quizzes. We don’t have that. But we do have a great trivia question. And Adrienne is going to remind us what it was. And I’ve got my guess. And Julia is great at trivia, so she used Dragon to win this.

Adrienne Woods 

She’s great at social media, so that’s why Okay, so the original idea for Facebook had a different name. Was it hot or not? The Facebook or Face Smash?

Julia Rosien 

I’m gonna guess, TheFacebook. That’s what my guess is.

Mark Kinsley 

Okay. I know the answer to this. I know the answer. What is that? Mark Zuckerberg created this little internal social network at Harvard, which was basically just looking at girls and seeing if they were hot or not. I guess.

Adrienne Woods 

So it’s kind of all three The The original idea was called Face smash based on where you would go in and rate girls being hot or not. Face smash turned into TheFacebook, which then eventually just became Facebook, Facebook.

Mark Kinsley 

That’s right buddy shots at drop the sounds amateurish

Adrienne Woods 

drop the. But apparently Harvard was not a fan of him raising girls on Facemash as being hot or not. So he almost got expelled for that.

Mark Kinsley 

Hey, look at the origin story. And hey, if there’s any company out there that has had plenty of social media crisis, they’re probably books upon books written about. If you want to dig a little deeper, you can do that. Julie Rosie and with Restonic thank you so much for being our co host today. And hey, everybody out there. If you have a marketing tip that’s worked for you or a topic you want us to cover, send us an email over at fam dot news where you can hop onto our podium number or text us on our podium number and we’ll get right back to you. And be sure to subscribe to this podcast and never miss an idea Adrian that can make you a

Adrienne Woods 

social media strategist.

Mark Kinsley 

A Strategist. Join us each week as we bring you more fam marketing magic!

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