How to Handle a Social Media Crisis the Right Way

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

Mike Tyson famously said those words as he was talking to reporters about his fighting strategy before one of his fights. This quote should not resemble your marketing plan. At some point your company will get “punched in the mouth” and your company’s marketing plan will be defined by how they handle it. Having a basic plan of action and constantly reinforcing it with your staff will help you manage a crisis smoothly.

Veet, a company that specializes in hair removal products for women, recently had a crisis and handled it rather poorly. On April 7, Veet posted on Facebook that their new commercial was going to air during “Dancing with the Stars” that night. They posted a link to it for their fans to see it early.


Unfortunately, people found the ad offensive and sexist, and they said as much on Veet’s Facebook page. What was Veet’s quick response? Nothing but a scheduled post the next day showing the offensive commercial again. Meanwhile, some of the offended people’s comments were getting several hundred likes from other offended people. After two days of silence, Veet finally posted a response saying they never meant to offend people. They promised to take down the ads on their social media sites, although they forgot one video which is still on their Facebook page. When you read the response, you can almost hear the annoyance and lack of compassion from their marketing team.  Veet

One way to prevent a crisis from getting out of a hand is by listening to the conversations about your brand. The last thing you want is to leave complaints unattended for any length of time.

Usually in a crisis, people will all be complaining about the same thing. The first thing your team should do is create a pre-planned response that will be used as a launching point for your social media managers to use. Address the issue first on the site where the complaints started. If people are commenting on your Facebook page, then draft an apology there before moving on to other social media sites.

In most cases, there are multiple employees who have access to all your social media accounts so make sure everyone is crystal clear about their role. An inconsistent message will only worsen the situation. Do not copy and paste the same response to every complaint; this is as bad as deleting the negative comments.

Double check that all scheduled posts are turned off on all of your social media sites. Promoting your brand instead of addressing the problem will look like you are not taking this issue seriously.

The most important thing to remember is to be as transparent as possible during a crisis. You will not be able to please everyone and that’s simply a fact. You’re human and humans make mistakes. If you are genuine with your apologies and follow through with your promises, people will forgive your brand much faster.

Every crisis is a learning experience. You should look back and see what worked. Afterwards, head back to the drawing board to reevaluate your crisis strategy.

Have you witnessed a brand handling a crisis? How did they do? Let me know in the comments below or connect with me on Twitter.

Social Media Spats: Tips to Handle Online Altercations

When a problem comes across your brand’s social media, how do you address it? Social media customer care is a hot topic. Your instinct tells you to defend your brand when people bash it, but what is the best practice? You don’t want to offend your followers or concerned consumers, but you do want to protect the integrity of your business.

We always say that social media is a conversation, but that conversation isn’t always going to go your way. You’re going to get negative feedback or criticism from people because the reality is that you can’t make everyone happy. Ignoring these criticisms or simply deleting the comments might be tempting, but don’t do it! Responding to comments is what makes social media “social.” Sometimes, you can even turn your biggest critic into your biggest fan.

So how do you deal with negative feedback? Here are five quick tips to guide you through a social media train wreck.


  • Stay positive! Even when your critic is being negative, spin it into a positive situation. Make sure to respond to the problem in a timely manner and let your solution to the problem be known. Simply apologizing isn’t going to satisfy your critic, but offering a solution and a way to make things right will please even the most sour critics.
  • Listen to constructive criticism. Whether you’re running an event that didn’t flow correctly or your product has a flaw, take constructive criticism for what it is and learn from the experience. Think of social media as a huge, free, real-time focus group and listen to your audience. Thank them for their input and tell them you’re putting it into consideration. Maybe it’s an idea you’ve never thought of and it would improve your product!
  • Sometimes people are simply looking for a fight. Don’t let it get personal and don’t give in to the temptation to fight back. There is no way to win in this situation so the best solution is to simply move on. Focus on problems that you can solve, not the impossible.
  • Be human, not a robot. One thing people hate are corporate responses. Show that you are a human and you have feelings, that you can relate to the person’s frustration. If you feel comfortable, give your name or an email for the upset customer to contact you. This way, there is a name and almost a face to the problem instead of someone simply yelling at a faceless brand.
  • Make it right. Offering an apology is a good start, but you can’t turn around a critic without action. Everyone makes mistakes, but how we fix those mistakes is what consumers will remember.