When does a problem develop into a crisis? This is a very subtle, but extremely important question and often highlights an individual organisation’s inability to monitor its reputation online. Whenever a company engages in social media marketing it must ensure that it looks for a reaction and a response and puts as much effort into that as it does into creating the marketing message in the first place. Yet it is amazing how many organisations simply do not go to the same lengths to watch and listen, as they did to talk in the first place.
There have been some highly publicised social media marketing disasters in recent times. We should clarify that; the disaster may not have developed in social media marketing circles but the consequences went viral online and significantly exacerbated the issue.
While an organisation may effectively operate during conventional business hours, social media is of course 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Just because the office or the production line is closed and nobody is answering the switchboard, does not mean that people are not talking about the organisation “out of hours.” In the social media enabled world of today this means that the tap is always running and there is always power to the marketing engine. This could be a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing.
Every company must have a crisis management policy. This means it needs to know what kind of response it is getting and in relation to what issue. Now, it’s not possible to predict these disasters as after all if it were, we would do our best to make sure that they don’t happen. However, there is no excuse for not immediately realising that there is a problem and then putting in place steps to mitigate it.
Any social media marketing campaign must be bolstered by a plan to monitor and determine the results. Your virtual assistant can set up and handle both and fully understands how important it is to have access to this level of monitoring around the clock. This is not to suggest that your virtual assistant will be surfing the Internet at 3 AM on a Sunday morning to try and find out what level of reaction you are getting to a certain initiative, but it does mean that the virtual assistant is very well aware of – and uses – systems, software and methods to make sure that nothing comes as a surprise.
Whenever a crisis materialises, action must be taken. Indeed, if no response is forthcoming this can often make the situation exponentially worse and can definitely cause a problem to snowball into a crisis. Social media marketing is a very powerful, but still relatively new means of communication. As we have said, we may have many more opportunities for marketing outside of conventional channels, but we need to be sure that we are keeping on top of developments and any “buzz” that is relevant to our organisation, as well.