Social Media Crisis Action Plan For 2021

Whether your a big or a SMB company, a celebrity or some kind of a famous personality with a large amount external public exposure, chances are you may have to deal with some kind of social media crisis sooner or later. A crisis can occur at random (insensitive tweet), or it can occur with a product misstep or even a social media account hacked. In this digital world, speed of these harmful conversations can implode on you or your company in mere seconds.

While there is no “one size fits all” approach, the below basic social media action plan will help you quickly identify the crisis (issue) and resolve it before it goes viral and turns into disaster.

The first stage of social media crisis planning is to identify the problem or issue in real-time before it gets out of control and goes viral. There are many tools out there that can help you keep tabs and monitor the majority of social media platforms. Most of these social tracking tools depend on keywords important to you or your company. Keywords such as “Company” or “product name” “name of person” “events” “competitors” “social media accounts” etc.

A short list below:

  • Social Mention. A great social real-time listening tool for your brand. It measures your influence within four key categories: passion, sentiment, strength, and reach.
  • Google Alerts. Track your brand mentions across web and news sites.
  • Mention.net. Track your brand across blogs, news sites and forums.
  • Talkwalker. Track your brand across across mostly blogs.
  • HowSociable. Measure and track what your competition is doing in Social Media.
  • Sprout Social. Great tool for monitoring and measuring your brands.
  • Radian6. A salesforce product. It allows you to quickly and efficiently track, monitor, and react to comments, questions, and complaints as they happen on most all social media platforms.

Here are five basic steps to include in your social media crisis plan:

1. Act quickly. Speeds kills, but speed also resolves! Explain the issue or problem FIRST and what your going to do to address it ASAP before it takes hold on Social Media. Be very transparent. You need to do this before it destroys your brand or major lawsuit.
2. Take charge. Step up and take charge of the issue and move fast (even if its at 2am).
3. Be transparent. If its bad and your company screwed up. Take ownership. Own up to the problem or issue!
4. Engage. Engage all the nay-sayers. Engage all the Social Media Trolls and critics.
5. Spread the word. Post your PR response on your website, company blog, social media pages and media releases.

Bottom line: Don’t wait until the threat to your company’s reputation becomes visible. Identify the crisis and get out in front of it before it takes hold.

Fortune 500 Data on Social Media in 2021

As of 2018, nearly 97 percent of all Fortune 500 enterprises use at least one social media platform to promote their initiatives and foster positive communication with stakeholders. This statistic was back in 2017-2018. I’m guessing in 2021, the % change is almost 100%. Its clear that using at least one social media network, such as Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, in order to establish a good communication line with stakeholders, customers and advocates is crucial in 2021.

Determine which social platform serves your brand or service better. Whether you are a seasoned social media marketer, a marketer looking to venture into social media marketing, or a business owner looking to leverage on social media, it’s helpful to know the most popular social media sites around that will amplify your brand. Choose the most popular platform based on your company’s product or client demographics. For example, Financial Advisors would choose Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter over Instagram. Actual product Fortune 500 retail marketers that need more “visual” branding would gravitate towards Instagram or Pinterest.

Pro Tip: Don’t let your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram gather cobwebs, you need to “show up” day after day with fresh content. Instead of spreading yourself thin across 5 different sites, focus on 2-3 primary accounts. Incorporating social scheduling and automation saves time and energy. Picking and prioritizing your social networks based on your audience location. Repurpose content so your not always trying to reinvent the wheel. Build your presence and following on those accounts as much as possible. If you do not have Fortune 500 type social media resources, just pick and focus on 1 platform. Once you get the hang of it (content creation, scheduling) branch out and add another platform. You can also outsource the work to a contractor. When you outsource anything, one of the greatest outcomes is gaining expertise that isn’t currently available to you. This is especially true when you’re considering outsourcing social media management.

Content Posts: Facebook vs Instagram vs Twitter vs LinkedIn

Don’t post the same EXACT content or same post on each platform. The platform and the audience using each, are unique and as such require a unique post. Where does your business fit into all this? The main key to knowing which social media platform is right for your business is firstly knowing exactly who your target demographic audience is.

If you post the same content on each platform, you run the risk of customers “unfollowing” you on one if not all of your platforms. Customers (or audience) will grow tired of the duplicate posts/content. Posts can be similar, but not exactly the same. Facebook is the most popular social network among middle-aged adults. Instagram is mostly accessed via mobile and is more heavily-used by affluent youth. A majority of Instagram users are under 30, and many are in their teens. Instagram users are primarily looking at images and/or videos as posts or as Instagram Stories. Twitter has become a conduit for news, particularly with users between 18 and 29. Twitter provides a way for users to follow real-time news feeds. Popular with celebrities, politicians, journalists and news outlets, it is also well-liked by businesses in the tech sector. LinkedIn is a professional network that was initially created as a corporate recruitment platform. Now, it boasts many features similar to traditional social media sites, including status updates, blogging capabilities, and private messages. LinkedIn is better for lead generation.

Your content type will depend upon which Social Media platform your business will utilize.

Social Media Sales in 2021

image

Forward-thinking salespeople are embracing a more “social” approach to break down old communication barriers such as Cold Calls, and Email = Social Media. Social selling allows salespeople to laser-target prospects, establish rapport and with their networks, and possibly even ditch the dreaded practice of cold calling.

While determining the best way to connect with prospects and help coax a consumer down your sales funnel, buyers are consistently going to social networks and the Internet to research products they have an interest in purchasing. Whether you are a B2B or B2C brand, potential buyers are looking on these social media platforms for product information. As smartphones are getting bigger form factors and faster processors, consumers are apt to looking, researching with these larger handheld mobile screens.

Here is a brief breakdown of Social Media as related to the Enterprise:

Business to Consumer = Facebook

Business-to-Business products (or services) = LinkedIn (if you have a first-level connection in common with the executive or buyer who will sign off on a PO)

All types of sales = Twitter

*Twitter is the best for “all kinds of sales” as it’s a very popular network (across all demographics) that doesn’t have privacy settings that keep you from high volume searches and actions.

Social Media Sales strategies

Twitter. Make sure you “add” to the conversation a little before directly engaging in customers:

  1.     Like (heart) a few Tweets
  2.     ReTweet one or two Tweets
  3.     Follow them

Friend, Follow, Follow Back or Connect with individuals with profiles that match you or your clients. Its VERY Important to build relationships on any Social Media platform. Not only can it help to generate leads, it can also help foster relationships with current customers.

Be in expert in your space. Provide solutions or tips and feedback to your customers or potential customers if they post a question or gripe on Twitter/Facebook. Prioritize the social channels and tools your audience is already using and that you’re familiar with, then organize those by their primary function.

Listening on social media is one of the most powerful tactics in a social selling strategy. Monitor for popular hashtags and keywords that are relevant to your industry or brand to find useful insights but also see what is being said about your competitors.

Never cold pitch on Social Media platforms. It comes off as desperate and will be ignored. If there is a conversation trending within your industry and potential customers, join in to offer meaningful commentary and interact with these potential buyers. Listening for these opportunities and finding out the pain points your potential customers are having will give sales people a feel for the conversation and allow them to add value.

Social media is “networking” more than it is “advertising”. The goal is to get them to call you (or vice versa), have an open mind about your product or service, and then make your sales pitch.

When its time to engage or pitch, follow these steps:

  • Ask for their email so that you can send them some info on your services.
  • Find them on LinkedIn and add “connect” with them.
  • Send a polite email and mention a conversation you had with them on Twitter or Facebook. You can also mention a tweet or Post that you “favorite” or “liked” from them.

Good Social Sales tools in this space that keeps track of conversations and engagement include:

Hootsuite. More for individuals and small business.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Enterprise grade and scalable.

Its apparent that Social Media like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are not fads anymore. These platforms are now mature options to generate leads and sales online. By experimenting with different Social Media sales strategies, you can find the best way to convert them into real quantifiable results on all levels. There are no participation medals in social selling: if you’re going to do it, you have to do it right. That means providing valuable insight to the right prospects at the right time.

Social Media Outreach in 2021

From a product or services firm perspective: Pick two or three social media platforms and concentrate on mastering those (if resources allow). If resources are limited, concentrate on Facebook and Twitter first. Determine which serves your brand or service better. Whether you are a seasoned social media marketer, a marketer looking to venture into social media marketing, or a business owner looking to leverage on social media, it’s helpful to know the most popular social media sites around that will amplify your brand. Choose the most popular platform based on your company’s product or client demographics. For example, Financial Advisors would choose Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter over Instagram. Actual product marketers that need more “visual” branding would gravitate towards Instagram or Pinterest.

First things first. Establish Trust. People naturally look to other people as a guide for their own behavior. Don’t get spammy with your posts or tweets. Post social media content that is quality and  compelling (always include an image). Encourage free exchange. Be open to change and continuous learning. Social proof (trust) typically rises exponentially, and it will become a self-perpetuating force.

Remember to establish reasonable goals once you start gaining momentum. Listen to your customers or fans (followers). Always gain feedback and adjust accordingly (iterate). Figure out what to measure when putting together goals. Example: do you measure “followers” or “likes” “retweets” or “retention” or “sales”?

Your goals should be distinct, in that you have a specific, defensible reason for participating in each platform. Take a look at your outreach strategy and review the reasons your business is implementing a social media marketing outreach plan. What do you want out of your social activities? Are you trying to drive visitors to your website, your blog, via Twitter or your Facebook page? Are your competitors on social media? Focusing on your ultimate goal will guide your next steps: what you do (what other channels you will use going forward), when you do it (what schedule you will aim for? Night or Daytime according to your demographic), and what content to share. Be vigilant and always participate every day (even if you have to schedule and automate it). Social Media marketing is a slow process that will pay off dividends in the future!

Create a LinkedIn Company Page and Target your Audience

linkedIn logo

LinkedIn company pages were created with the purpose of providing your business with point of contact information with your specific target audience.

The number of active users on platforms like LinkedIn continues to grow exponentially, making social media an increasingly attractive channel for financial advisors to not only reach prospective clients and centers of influence, but to nurture relationships with existing clients as well. LinkedIn is equally powerful when it comes to promotion: 80 percent of B2B leads come from here, proving to be the most effective channel.

Hootsuite has a great guide on “How to Use LinkedIn for Business: A Step-by-Step Guide for Marketers” and can be found here.

Once you set up your LinkedIn Company Page, your employees can help get the word out about its creation and existence. Get the employees to get involve & interact. “like” or share a post! What you want is to amplify your LinkedIn company original blog content, and company announcements. Finally, link your company website page over to your LinkedIn company page. Driving website traffic to and from the LinkedIn company page is a great way to attract potential clients!

How To Make Your Website More “Shareable”

If your producing great content, why not make it more shareable. This helps create and drive traffic, conversions, and ultimately SEO.

For LinkedIn, make sure your source code complies with “Open Graph Protocol (OGP)” and certain image requirements specific to LinkedIn.

Below are the og: tags that must exist and their correct format:

    <meta property=“og:title” content=“Title of the article”/>
    <meta property=“og:image” content=“http://media.example.com/ 1234567.jpg”/>
    <meta property=“og:description” content=“Description that will show in the preview”/>
    <meta property=“og:url” content=“http://www.example.com/URL of the article” />

Here are the image requirements specific to the LinkedIn sharing module:

    Max file size: 1 MB
    Minimum image dimensions: 80 x 150 pixels
    Recommended aspect ratio: 4:1 or 1:4

For Facebook, add Facebook Like Buttons to your Content. Embed Facebook Sharing in Text and Images. Debug Your Website for Facebook Graph. You can run a quick audit with the Facebook Debugger. Always beware of the Open Graph Protocol requirements on Facebook.
 
For Pinterest, choose Eye-Catching Images.  Once an image draws someone into your post, they’ll want to know more about what your post covers. Create an attention grabbing description. Also, make sure you add a website widget and Pin It buttons your website. A great resource on how to add these buttons (and even build it yourself) to many popular platforms such as WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, etc., can be found here. Make it easy for people to collect things from your site.
 
For Twitter, add a Twitter icon on all your website content (this also goes for Facebook, Pinterest, LinkeIn, etc). To increase Retweets and shareability, use Twitter cards. You’ve probably seen these cards before if you follow any news organizations like the New York Times. There are currently 8 types of Twitter cards. Two are specific to sharing apps. Integrate the card code into your site either via plugins or custom code.

There are three high-level steps to this process:

    1. Add the code to your site
    2. Validate (test) it using Twitter’s validation tool
    3. Get approved to use Twitter cards for your account
    
Steps 2 and 3 are repeated for each type of card you’d like to use for your site. You can either use card code PlugIns or build it yourself to use for your website. Simply add a few lines of HTML to your webpage, and users who Tweet links to your content will have a “Card” added to the Tweet that’s visible to all of their followers. A good tutorial on adding Twitter cards can be found here.

If your website publishes a lot of content like “articles” or “reviews” or long-form journalism, its imperative to add a Instapaper widget to let your readers SAVE interesting articles, videos, cooking recipes, song lyrics, or whatever else you create. Instapaper syncs your website articles and videos/content so that your visitors can save on all their your devices – iPhone, iPad, Android, or Kindle. Visitors can read anything they save, anywhere and anytime you want, even offline. Instapaper is the only app that supports advanced kerning and ligatures for a better reading experience.

Social Media Crisis Action Plan

image

Whether your a big or small company, a celebrity or some kind of a famous personality with a large amount external exposure, chances are you may have to deal with some kind of social media crisis sooner or later. A crisis can occur at random (insensitive tweet), or it can occur with a product misstep or even a social media account hacked. In this digital world, speed of these harmful conversations can implode on you or your company in mere seconds.

While there is no once size fits all approach, the below basic social media action plan will help you quickly identify the crisis (issue) and resolve it before it goes viral and turns into disaster.

The first stage of social media crisis planning is to identify the problem or issue in real-time before it gets out of control and goes viral. There are many tools out there that can help you keep tabs and monitor the majority of social media platforms. Most of these social tracking tools depend on keywords important to you or your company. Keywords such as “Company” or “product name” “name of person” “events” “competitors” “social media accounts” etc.

A short list below:

  • Social Mention. A great social real-time listening tool for your brand. It measures your influence within four key categories: passion, sentiment, strength, and reach.
  • Google Alerts. Track your brand mentions across web and news sites.
  • Mention.net. Track your brand across blogs, news sites and forums.
  • Talkwalker. Track your brand across across mostly blogs.
  • Twazzup. Real-time monitoring and analytics for Twitter.
  • HowSociable. Measure and track what your competition is doing in Social Media.
  • Spredfast. A great Social relationship platform to monitor your brand as well as tailor and engage in the right audience.
  • Sprout Social. Great tool for monitoring and measuring your brands.
  • Radian6. A salesforce product. It allows you to quickly and efficiently track, monitor, and react to comments, questions, and complaints as they happen on most all social media platforms.

Here are five basic steps to include in your social media crisis plan:

1. Act quickly. Speeds kills, but speed also resolves! Explain the issue or problem FIRST and what your going to do to address it ASAP before it takes hold on Social Media. Be very transparent. You need to do this before it destroys your brand or major lawsuit.
2. Take charge. Step up and take charge of the issue and move fast (even if its at 2am).
3. Be transparent. If its bad and your company screwed up. Take ownership. Own up to the problem or issue!
4. Engage. Engage all the nay-sayers. Engage all the Social Media Trolls and critics.
5. Spread the word. Post your PR response on your website, company blog, social media pages and media releases.

Bottom line: Don’t wait until the threat to your company’s reputation becomes visible. Identify the crisis and get out in front of it before it takes hold.

Why Businesses Should Utilize Social Media + How Do You Measure?

Why Businesses Should Utilize Social Media

  1. Drives traffic
  2. Discover new customers
  3. Builds brands
  4. Attracts customers and evangelists who can help spread the “message”
  5. Creates positive associations with product or brand

How do you track social media ROI (metrics)?

  1. Traffic data (uniques coming from social media pages/profile)
  2. Fan/Follower data
  3. Social interaction data
  4. Social content performance (is the content produced on these social media sites driving traffic?)

Are there tools to help me track these metrics? Oh yeah! Just to name a few….

  1. Radian6. Best known social media monitoring tool.
  2. Social Mention. “Google Alerts” for Social Media.
  3. TwentyFeet. Aggregation of metrics and a datastream from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
  4. Klout. Measures influence online.
  5. Viralheat. One of the best ways to measure social media (cheap for basic plan).