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The Social Media Crisis Management Guide

With the recent Dolce and Gabbana scandal (the controversial advert being aired in China as a result of their social media accounts being hacked), many companies are more concerned than ever when it comes to security and crisis management. Two designers at Dolce and Gabbana made apologies on video (, which us Trufflers think was the best approach.

Sometimes a humble apology is the best solution! We read this article - which also had us thinking about what we can take away from similar situations, and the lessons we can share.

Speed, Safety, Security

Minor fails, trolls taking over, waking up to a well-intentioned tweet being taken completely out of context. We’ve all been there. No matter the size of the problem, speed is crucial. Things can escalate, and before long a huge number of people can hear what’s happened. It’s vital to control situations and protect your reputation. And guess what? It’s easier to prepare than you might think. We’ll never forget #susanalbumparty … But there are heaps of examples of businesses trying to interact with followers and resulting in disaster! McDonald’s tried encouraging people to share their #McDStories. Instead, they received (unsurprisingly) an influx of unhappy customers and references to the controversial ingredients in their burgers. No matter how squeaky clean the brand might be now, they’ve been in the public eye / mainstream for such a long time that these scenarios are almost inevitable.

Pre-Panic Protection The worst time to start thinking about making a crisis management plan, is - no surprise - mid crisis! Having steps in place in advance will make problems far less likely to spring out of the blue. The following are essential for surviving future mishaps.

Creating a hashtag campaign? Firstly, read through for any hilarious but unwanted errors. Send screenshots to the work WhatsApp group, and then tweak. Imagine how the prompt or phrase could be misconstrued/misread, especially from those who don’t follow you or are unfamiliar with your brand.

Will the post educate, inform or entertain? If it doesn’t cover any of these three, then consider whether it is worth posting in the first place. It is better to be silent, than to share something which may be risky. Here at Truffle, this means researching what message and intention our clients have for their social media presence and ensuring that each piece of content aligns with it. Being this careful is at the core of our work. Keep all members of staff in the loop! It’s all well and good having the top executive aware of the risk management process, but junior employees and temporary interns must be informed too. Create a list of who it is best to contact when a problem is spotted, and keep it updated. Creating communication guidelines are also helpful, as well as constructing an approval process for any online publication. Standard response documents are good for referral purposes. How to respond to trolls, how to approach apologies etc.

Executing a Game Plan

So, something’s gone wrong. What next? It might be cliché, but panicking really doesn’t help, and it might create unnecessary stress for the whole team/workforce. Here’s what’s important to remember:

Identify how big the problem is, if a post or comment has only been up for 30 seconds, it’s probably easily fixed. But in extreme cases, it might be worth pausing all scheduled content until the situation has been addressed, or until you’ve all had a de-brief and an emergency croissant!

We need to consider tone of voice when sending out sincere apologies online. It’s the most important time to be authentic. Admit to honest, human mistakes in a serious manner. If anything, your business will be admired for it.

A last note here, if you didn’t mean to offend but the entire brands stands by the statement/item shared, try and re-approach the issue differently. You don’t want to abandon a core passion for the sake of a troll trying to cause trouble.

Hopefully you found this post useful. Feel free to share your advice in the comments below!

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