What Characterizes a Social Media Crisis?

08 Dec

Ten Steps for Managing an Online Crisis

One of the key elements in order to successfully militate against social media crisis is to have a pre-crisis planning. The main advantage is it acts as a lifeguard mode, and there are four elements of it:

The first involves utilizing social media software which is highly valuable for listening to customers online, as it’s hard to deal with a crisis if you can’t find. There are 5 categories of social media software::

  • Social Listening Software (Monitoring Software) -Radian 6
  • Social Conversation Software (Engagement Software)-  Argyle Social
  • Social Marketing Software (Management Software)-Wildlife
  • Social Analytic Software – Adobe/ Omniture
  • Social Influencer SoftwareAppinions.

The second is set a listening protocol. This is essential in order to fully understand who from your company is listening on the social web? When and for what are they listening?

Thirdly, many organisations do not understand what a real social media crisis is; hence, I have broken it down into three characteristics:

  • A social media crisis has information asymmetry: This is prevalent when the company fails to understand or know anymore than the public about what’s going on.
  • A social media crisis is a decisive change from the norm: Many organisations are heavily criticized such as Nike or Apple for their labour practices. This is normal, however, when a different line of criticism occurs, it’s a sign of a social media crisis.
  • A social media crisis has a potentially material impact on the company overall: Something insignificant like someone twitting about a minor mistake by a company isn’t a crisis. However, if someone is tweeting about a gunman taking over a restaurant; it is definitely characterized as a social media crisis (Scope and scale are important aspects).

Finally, the fourth includes creating a crisis flowchart that specifies who in your organization should be contacted in different scenarios,  the more acute the issue is, the more senior the responder.

Tune in next to learn, the steps to take when a real social media crisis occurs.


Baer, J(2012) Don’t Be Scared Be Prepared – How to Manage a Social Media Crisis, [online], Available at:, (accessed 01/12/2013).

Baer, J(2012), Clearing Clouds of Confusion – the 5 Categories of Social Media Software,  [online], Available at: (accessed 01/12/2013).


Posted by on December 8, 2013 in Uncategorized


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2 responses to “What Characterizes a Social Media Crisis?

  1. ratajc

    December 29, 2013 at 11:31 am

    I read your posts and the topic is very compelling to me! However I have a question regarding managing bad reputation on social media. If there is an outburst of negative comments about our brand which can potentially effect our consumers on a larger scale to shift to another brand, how should company react? I am asking purely for your opinion.

    Keep up the good work!


    Lucijan Ratajc

  2. amysdcu

    December 31, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Hi Lucijan,
    Thats a great question and thank you so much your response. I believe that two following posts highlight the steps which companies really need to follow closely in order to prevent any damage to the brands name.However, in my own personal opinion, I believe that a swift response and acknowledgement of the incident is necessary along with fast action to handle the situation and prevent any further harm to customers or the business. Finally, most importantly the step for the company to take is to sincerely apologize and state their plans to prevent the incident from occurring in the future. I hope this answers your question and thanks again for the response.

    Kind regards,

    Amy Sheils


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