Handling a Social Media Crisis
In these days of aggressive social media activism, hotels are coming under fire for various reasons.
Most recently a celebrity took to social media to rant against a hotel generating a tsunami of social media comments both for and against the hotel stand. Ensuing activity also involved a hefty fine from the government officials on various tax loop holes.
While these are moments for Crisis communication, having a brand strategy for handling a Social media crisis can help, because this form of crisis can hit any hotel at any time of the year.
For you to effectively tackle these kinds of crisis, you need to be prepared. The checklist below will give you an effective steps in preparing for the crisis.
Develop an on brand Social media strategy
The key to responding is to be prepared with the following questions.
- How will you respond, in public or through DM ( Direct messaging)
- What will your tone of apology be like.
- Who will be the spokesperson for an event
- Will you take additional request from media agencies or release a press note
- How will you continue to function on social media while the crisis is in full effect
Use Social Listening to monitor developments
Any good social media plan should involve listening to your brand mentions.
In times of crisis, it is even more important that your hotel should have someone actively listening to understand where the conversation is going.
Even if you are not in crisis mode a social media listening tool will help you to identify what the world is talking about your brand.
If you use a tool to schedule posts in advance, check the posts to see if anything can further flare up a backlash.
Stop your posts or keep it on hold till the crisis in question blows over so that your team can concentrate on the present task on hand.
Don’t wash your linen in public
This old adage may very well be useful in your time of crisis.
Engage or apologize briefly but if your response needs a long explanation, use the correct medium like a press release or a news / press conference to address any issues rather than fighting on the same channel.
If you continue to be active on social media, simply apologize and move the conversation to a private channel like phone or direct messaging
Communicate with your employees
Often when some social media issue happens, your employees can get concerned or get dragged into the controversy due to their own handling of their social media platforms.
Communicate effectively with your team on what is acceptable and what is not and how to respond in case they receive any queries from media or friends.
Once the crisis blows over, it is a good time to learn from the experience and revisit your PR and marketing playbook.
Our guide to PR during opening a hotel is a great resource to help you revisit the PR and Social media action plan for your hotel.
Handling a social media crisis can involve many moving parts however the key is to be prepared, know what to communicate and how to respond in the face of backlash
And if you are interested in training your team, do check out our training plans for hotels