10 Biggest Social Media Crisis-Related Lessons of 2012

10 Biggest Social Media Crisis-Related Lessons of 2012.

By Melissa Agnes, Social Media Crisis Manager, Speaker and Consultant

From Internet defamation to social media crises and one’s online reputation management, it seems that every other week a new brand is teaching us all a lesson or two in proper online conduct and social media crisis management.

As I reflect back on 2012, I remember early on in the year when the Altimeter Group released a report stating that 76% of social media crises could have been avoided. As I think back to all of the social media crises and issues that have taken form online over the past 12 months, I can’t help but think that, if that number hasn’t gone up, it surely could not have gone down either! It seems that this year has been filled with social media debacles that have put numerous brands’ reputations at risk.

So how can you protect your brand from falling into that unfortunate 76%? Of course, you can (and should) develop a social media crisis management plan, but that takes a few weeks at best. So, before we journey off into the new year, let’s reflect back upon all the lessons that have been plainly laid out for us, time and time again by different brands facing different online debacles throughout this past year. If each brand could really learn these lessons, it would be a very big step towards not falling into that unacceptable 76%.

The 10 Biggest Social Media Crisis-Related Lessons of 2012 

  1. Real-time is NOT an option, but a must and a highly critical expectation of your audience
  2. In order to respond and react to an online threat in real-time, one must be monitoring the social discussions around one’s brand
  3. Trust, sincerity and compassion go a very long way in a crisis
  4. Ignoring a social media or online issue only makes matters worse
  5. The sooner you respond to an online threat, the more chances you have at coming out of it with zero repercussions to your brand’s reputation or bottom-line
  6. Every employee is a spokesperson for your brand and needs to be trained as such
  7. Having a mentality of “always focusing on building a relationship with your market” will always lead you in the right direction when it comes to your social media crisis communications
  8. Double check that you’re posting from the correct account before pressing “post”
  9. Identify the difference between negative posts and unacceptable posts, and develop a way of dealing with both types of online comments and tweets
  10. A crisis can strike out of thin air, when least expected. That’s why it’s so important for every single company and organization to be prepared with a social media crisis management plan

As I reflect back on the last year of online crises and issues that we’ve all been witnesses to, I can’t help but be reminded of the importance of learning from others’ mistakes – and teaching what we learn to those responsible for interactive on behalf of our brand. So if I can ask one last thing of you before the year comes to a close, it’s please, please, please, at the very least, learn the first 9 lessons above and plan to achieve the 10th, if you haven’t already.

About the Author: Melissa Agnes is a social media crisis specialist and online reputation manager. She works with global organizations, Universities, government agencies and non-profits, helping them better protect their brands and reputations from online attacks. Melissa writes a daily social media crisis management blog over atMelissaAgnes.com and is the creator of The Social Media Crisis Academy. You can connect with Melissa on Twitter and Linkedin.