How to prepare for a social media crisis

How to prepare for a social media crisis

A social media crisis can hit at any time and, in order for you to safeguard your brand’s reputation, you have to be prepared. Community managers have to work closely with their communications team to formulate a messages that not only addresses the issue but is also empathetic towards their community.

Use our step-by-step plan to assist you in putting your own social media crisis plan together. Remember to tailor it according to your brand.


1. Determine the rules and procedures around communicating during a crisis

Community managers are often the first line of contact when a social media crisis starts to brew. Therefore, your social media and communications team need to work together to put a plan of action in place for when a crisis occurs.

As a social media manager, you can quickly pick up on a crisis by checking your brand mentions. If you notice an increase in brand mentions or engagements surrounding a negative topic, you need to alert your communications manager and put your crisis plan in action.

2.  Craft response templates

Create Tweet and post copy templates and have your communications team approve them in advance. You can fill in the details once a crisis hits.

Remember to include the following:

  • What (caused the crisis)
  • Where (it is taking place)
  • Who (it affects)
  • How (it happened, if you are able to disclose this)
  • When (you expect it to be resolved by, if you have this information)

3.  Train your social media team on how to handle a crisis

Clarify each member’s roles and responsibilities as this will not only assist in streamlining tasks, but it will also help to avoid any duplication in what is being communicated to followers.

Ensure that your team knows how to reply with empathy while addressing the issue and providing all the information available. All replies need to contain the same facts, but cannot simply be copy and paste responses as this will look impersonal and may cause further backlash from your followers.

During a crisis

When a social media crisis hits, remain calm and follow the the steps below:

1. Stop all scheduled posts

Check your social media platforms and any other third party publishing tools you use for scheduled posts. If you have any posts scheduled, either remove them from the schedule or reschedule the posts for a later date.

If content unrelated to the crisis is published, your brand will seem to be unaware of what is happening or unaffected by it.

2. Create and publish posts that address the crisis

Use your social media post templates that you have updated with information about the crisis to  let your followers know that you are aware of the issue. This will boost their confidence in your brand and may lower the number of negative messages, visitor posts, reviews and comments.. The message could be as simple as “We are looking into (the problem) and we will update you  as soon as more information becomes available”.

It is important to then keep your community updated on the situation. As soon as new information becomes available, post it on all the social media pages where conversations about your brand are taking place.

3. Share contact information with your community

Inform your followers about the correct communication channels to follow for assistance during the crisis. This may be an email address or a telephone number.

Reassure your followers that your company is in contact with all relevant personnel who are working on having the situation resolved as soon as possible. They may be stakeholders, technicians, engineers, directors and more. Also, always remember apologise for any inconvenience caused.

4. Reply to comments, Tweets and posts in a timely manner

Ensure that you communicate in a polite and informative manner, addressing the issues raised directly. State all the facts that you have about the crisis and keep your community updated by replying to the comment thread on your post. This will prevent you from having to reply multiple times. Where possible, reply to the oldest engagements first as these customers may post again if they have not received feedback. If you are dealing with a difficult customer rather direct them offline by encouraging them to message your brand.

Use your pre-crafted Tweets and posts to help you manage the high volume of responses quicker, but remember to personalise each reply.


Once the volume of negative mentions surrounding your brand has decreased, and the crisis has been resolved by your communications department, update your community and thank them for their support in either one of the following ways:

  1. If the crisis was centred around your products or services, your social media team will need to rebuild customer loyalty by creating content that showcases your offering’s key selling points, quality and value adds.
  2. If the crisis was centred around your brand and its reputation, posting a video or direct quote from the CEO or MD will help boost consumer confidence.

Being prepared for a crisis can help you protect your brand’s reputation. Following a plan will help keep you and your communications team focussed on the very important task of protecting your brand’s reputation. Remember, all brand’s are different, and therefore you need to create a plan that works for your team and your brand.

Speed up your response time and safeguard your brand’s reputation with amaSocial Reaction Lists. You will be alerted every time your brand’s keyword is mentioned in conjunction with pre-identified negative keywords or by specific authors.

Stay up to date with your weekly, monthly and quarterly tasks with The Ultimate Social Media Checklist. 

Tags: Blog, social media, crisis, digital marketing, amaSocial, blog, community manager