Real time monitoring will allow you to assess the intensity of a crisis. Take a look at the amount of activity (tweets, comments, views etc) and sentiment. Assess if the level of activity is growing, flatlining or decreasing. This information is invaluable when working out what to do next.Begin to categorise the types of comments/inquires being directed to your brand. Are they ‘institutional based inquiries’ where one response supports the many? Or are they ‘individual based inquiries’ where each response needs to be tailored to the customer’s specific circumstances?If inquires are institutional there may be a lack of publicly available information and you may want to consider broadcasting a response. If inquires are individual based, do you have sufficient online resources to reach out to customers that need support?
Typically in a crisis a set of key messages are used by the spokesperson(s) to communicate the corporate response/position. These messages are drafted for the media and are usually corporate/formal.Sometimes corporations will copy and paste their media messaging for use in their online channels. This makes sense because in a crisis your corporate messaging needs to be consistent.But this is where corporations get themselves into trouble as the majority of a brand’s online audience will be customers. Messaging drafted for the media will likely frustrate a customer based audience. It makes the brand appear out of touch with the real customer experience of loss and inconvenience.
Be empathic and support your customers
When information is hard to come by or if the comms strategy is to communicate only when you have something to communicate, your online stakeholders could be left wanting. A happy medium could exist if a brand adopts an emphatic based outreach strategy.