Winning the lottery.
Creating a viral campaign.
Be careful what you wish for. Great news can turn bad, really bad.
Just like owning the lucky lottery ticket can make your life miserable, so can a sudden viral success. It can backlash.
Here are two recent unfortunate examples.
Itsu, a UK noodle chain, offered a £10 introductory discount to new customers. The company offered voucher codes and drove thousands of users to the chain’s app. Coupon codes were rolling all over the internet, and 21,000 users registered to the chain’s app. What happened next wasn’t so great for the small company.
Itsu got overloaded with reservations and suspended the service. Customer frustration quickly erupted on Twitter:
Itsu is not alone in this sudden success nightmare scenario.
The women’s fashion website Missguided, recently offered a 50% discount which was followed by high demand and then a site crash. The company faced technical difficulties and the unhappy customers expressed their frustration on Twitter:
The One Thing You Must Have in the Social Emergency Toolkit
When dealing with masses of customers, a brand must have a social media crisis plan.
We’ve shared previously a post on how you should build your Social Media Crisis Management plan. To sum it up, a brand should take these actions when the crisis starts:
- Social listen to every brand mention.
- Identify the trend and sentiment.
- Engage with the audience.
- Be transparent about the problem.
This time, we want to focus on one of the most important tools in the social emergency toolkit: influencers.
How Important are Influencers in Managing a Social Media Crisis?
In times of crisis, the volume of conversations can be overwhelming. Unless you’re experienced in this kind of situations, and have enough staff to handle it, you won’t be able to respond to it all in real time. You will need help to mitigate the crisis and share your side of the story.
Here’s what you need to know about influencers in times of a troubled situation:
1. Prioritize Your Responses
If you can’t respond to it all, prioritize to whom you must answer immediately.
Identify the social impact of the speakers with designated tools that measure influence. You won’t have time to analyze every angry user’s social reputation. Using tools would let you prioritize to whom to answer on the fly. For Twitter, you can use our free Chrome extension and see right in your timeline the social influence of the users.
2. Target Conversation-Changers
A crisis amplifies the raging voices, while silencing the empathic ones.
Some power users will be more familiar and understanding with your situation. Talking with them and sharing your perspective can encourage the influencers to join the conversation and change it, or at least mitigate it.
Unfortunately, building an arsenal of influencers who are on your side is not something a brand can start at the last minute. Start finding your influencers today, way before there’s any case of emergency. Being proactive about it can save you much of a headache later.
3. Have a Friend Within
You might get lucky and have some employees who are social power users. It’s time to encourage an employee advocacy plan.
Reading an unofficial response from an employee has a totally different effect than the official response by the company’s spokesman. The honest employee advocacy is much more down to earth and unmediated.
Pack Your Emergency Kit Today
Diffusing a crisis is feasible with the right people, tools, and rhetoric.
Mistakes happen and seizing control of the situation goes through owning it and taking responsibility. The next step is getting more people on your side, people who understand your situation and appreciate your transparency and efforts.
The remedy for the future mess goes through starting relationships with influencers today. This way you are ahead of the situation, and not the other way around.
As we see it, the social emergency toolkit includes social listening monitors, influencers, and a knowledgable team who can handle the situation. What would you add to this toolkit?