There are many situations which arise that require an immediate response. While there may be no immediate crisis on the horizon, a company wants to be prepared in case a crisis might arise. This is the importance of having a plan in place. The social media crisis plan addresses issues and walks a company through the process should a crisis occur.
These are the steps that I am working on putting in place to combat any social media crisis which might occur.
Step 1. When a crisis occurs acknowledge that it happened. It is bad business when a crisis occurs that no one seems to step up and admit it has happened. Admitting the crisis actually exists will help to maintain the integrity of a company. When everyone is passing the buck and no one seems to know, it looks like the company is hiding something and this brings more negative visibility to the company organization.
Step 2. When working in the social media world, first address the issue where it happened. Whatever site was the instigator for the crisis; that is the site where the issue should be addressed first. Once the issue is addressed on that site then you can go on to other sites to put out fires regarding the crisis.
Step 3. Keep all employees informed of the crisis and how it is being handled. Also make sure that employees and staff know where to send questions and people requesting information. You not want every staff member answering questions without knowing what should be said. There needs to be a central location for addressing the crisis.
Step 4. Acknowledge that you are sorry and you are taking every step to address and correct the issue. While the immediate reaction may be anger or distrust, when you say you are sorry and you show this in your actions, people tend to be more forgiving.
Step 5. Create a site and have all the information available for people to see. From acknowledgment to how the crisis will be fixed along with a place to ask questions.