An Indian telecom brand was accused by influential politician on Twitter, having more than 25 lakh followers the tweet reached 25,69,091 people with 1406 re-tweets. Within next few hours the topic shifted based to Facebook with more than 700 comments. As the telecom operator had invested in Social Media listening systems using Radian6 which enables to track the complete conversation in real time, it helped to tracked when the first tweet originated and the username. Social Media listening helped to understand more about the conversations and accordingly predict what the company can expect in next few hours. Having complete information the company prepared official statement for media and all the requisite answers for journalists before they can question. Thus the company was able to avert a major crisis which could have spiralled into brand damage. Not only this readiness helped the company to avert a major crisis, but resulted in more positive coverage.
Read more about the case study here: SocialWavelength
Welcome to the new age of crisis which begins online and leads to offline. PR professionals have long been working on managing crisis post damage has been done by media, as only media had the power to publish and reach huge base of target audience. But with rise of social media tools everyone became publisher which might result in crisis any moment.
The old model of news tracking and monitoring is no longer applicable in Web 2.0. New age Public Relation agencies have to evolve and equip themselves to fight crisis when it begins, as often the crisis is unpredictable, even the media doesn’t know about the problem until their friends are commenting on social media about it. Once it becomes big, the crisis moves on to print, then television and so on..
Another problems with social media crisis is – It never dies off, as it has high possibility to reignite again, which the PR professionals are untrained to manage.
What PR can do about this?
- Initially focus on social listening as this will help them to understand more about what is been debated
- Design a crisis manual to fight crisis on social media, using tools of social media
- In case PR professionals are not well aware of how social media operates, its better they are in tie – up with social media agencies, who are trained to manage and avert crisis. As not all discussions can have answers, at times need to contact the social media portal and inform them if the discussion is not following their terms of usage.