A Social Media Crisis – How to Manage It

By September 8, 2021Blog

No one wants to have a social media crisis, but as a social media marketer, and working with many clients here at Burgie MediaFusion, we know it is inevitable.

A crisis is any negative impact to your brand and its reputation. Being able to handle it effectively, quickly, and rationally, will keep your reputation solid. This will allow you to keep a few negative comments from becoming a full-blown social media issue. If the issue is on a larger scale, or out of your company’s hands, how you respond is critical.

What do you need to do as a company to manage a social media crisis?

Understand what qualifies as a crisis for your company:

  • What signifies a crisis for your brand? Discussing this and thinking of scenarios will go a long way to helping your team navigate a potential issue.
  • Brainstorm and determine possible responses to different scenarios. Having a template in place will cut down on time when responding.
  • Who will make the decisions and be responsible for responding to any comments or reviews?
  • Create a crisis plan in order to be prepared and able to address any issues. This way your team can act fast if needed.
  • Create a solid social media policy to establish guidelines for posting, interacting online, expectations, and anything else your company needs.

Do you need to pause?

  • Depending on the severity of the crisis, (think pandemic vs. a bad review), you might want to pause posting or boosting content, especially content that has been scheduled. Acting as if there is nothing going on could cause a rift with your followers, or at the very least, show some insensitivity on your part.
  • Change the tenor and pace of your messaging in a serious time of crisis. If it is something less serious, get it off of your page and into a private message.
  • How do people feel about your brand? If there has been a negative switch to what is being said about your brand, investigate what is prompting the change.
  • Don’t ignore the crisis. Respond to people, take it to direct messaging (DM) if needed, but don’t let communication falter. Acknowledge without engaging irrationally to someone’s bait.

Observe and listen.

  • Acknowledge an issue or problem immediately, even if it’s just a simple message saying, “We know something is going on”. You may not be ready to react without taking a moment to plan, but letting others know that your company understands will go a long way in maintaining trust.
  • Depending on the situation, you might need to take stock of what is happening around you. What is being said online? How are other companies responding and reacting?
  • Take time to really reflect and create a message that resonates. You won’t get a second chance to send a first message. This really applies if it is a global, cultural, or political event.
  • If you are dealing with negativity towards your company, do a deep dive and figure out why things are being said or written. Consider, revisit, reflect, and reengage, without arguing.
  • Respond or react within the day. Leaving it too long could be detrimental.
  • Let your followers know you and your company are listening and appreciating any feedback. Try to keep a positive slant as opposed to a negative one.
  • A mean comment or two doesn’t mean a crisis is looming, but keep an eye on it. What do you need to do to mitigate any further issues?


  • Maybe the crisis has abated or settled down, but that doesn’t mean everything is over.
  • What did your team learn? What worked and what didn’t?
  • What could you do differently next time?
  • Does your brand need to change its stance or work on accountability?
  • Do your clients/followers have trust in you?
  • Were you a beacon of positivity, resourcefulness, or a leader in the community during the crisis?
  • What set you apart and made people trust your brand?
  • Document what you learned. Keep copies of emails, visuals, responses, protocols, positive comments, support from customers and information from employees.

We all learn from mistakes and a social media crisis could be a good way to learn what not to do. But, being prepared as much as possible, will keep your brand’s reputation safe. How can our team at Burgie MediaFusion help you?