Most brands have experienced it. No matter whether Pepsi, Nestlé, ING-DiBa, Pril or Deutsche Bahn. You all know what a shit storm feels like. Not every negative contribution is a shitstorm and the term is sometimes used very inflationarily. But if a company gets caught, it is important to know exactly how to deal with it. In the best case scenario, a shit storm does not become a storm, but only a mild breeze.
It is important to know where a Shitstorm originated and which users distribute the content. Are there individual actors that stand out and give their opinion? Are there platforms on which users coordinate and plan the shit storm? In the case of a negative posting on your Facebook fan page, you can usually still keep an eye on it yourself. But what happens when a negative blog post triggers the shitstorm, users discuss in forums or the distribution takes place on Twitter? It is therefore advisable to always use a monitoring tool to find these contributions. Define your setup so that you can use filters or a precise keywording to find the articles that are related to the Shitstorm. An email alert, which also notifies you of new posts, is essential. In addition, analyze what is the reason for the Shitstorm, which user groups contribute to it and what requirements the different groups have for communication.
As soon as a shit storm has broken out, the company needs to respond promptly. Shitstorms always arise very quickly, so that a reaction after days completely misses its target. It is therefore advisable to think about what to do in the event of a crisis in quieter times; i.e. concrete flowcharts are a must to provide quick orientation. What are the corresponding emergency websites, background information and contacts? Of course, fine adjustments are always necessary in the event of an emergency, but such plans help that you as a company do not act haphazardly. Think about which departments need to work together to exchange information internally without loss and to have all stakeholders at the same level of information. Also check whether you need external partners and how you can integrate existing structures. Shitstorms are not uncommon on weekends. Make sure that all contacts are available and think of an emergency plan.
If a competitor of yours has already experienced a shit storm, analyze the course carefully. Learn from others’ mistakes to be better prepared.
You have located the shitstorm, identified the problems and have your answers ready. But how do you best communicate these reactions? Regardless of where you post your statement, there are a few rules that your communications department should follow. The first step is to take every criticism seriously. It is important that you have the necessary understanding for the users and react authentically. Avoid formal texts that sound like a press release. Be empathetic towards the user. Do not only take responsibility for the causes, but show openly and honestly which solutions you have developed and how you implement them.
Refrain from shifting the cause primarily to others, as responsibility in the public eye is usually only up to you. Address the recipients individually to create credibility. If you rely on standard phrases, a shit storm quickly draws the resentment and derision of many observers who have not yet been involved themselves. Be honest with the information situation. If you do not have all the information, please communicate this to the outside world.
If a shit storm is raging, the negative comments pound your company. Sympathizers, victims and trolls jump on the train and write contributions to the company. It’s tempting, of course, to deprive these people of the opportunity to write you something. However, it is the wrong step to take your Facebook fan page offline and delete posts. This only means that the users are even more annoyed. Optimally, you also have a netiquette that allows you to delete offensive and vulgar posts without users viewing this as censorship.
Under certain circumstances, however, it makes sense that you deactivate the rating option or the option for bulletin board entries. The damage that users cause here is often very difficult to repair afterwards. It also helps you to keep a better overview when processing the answers and in communication.
To optimally recognize a shit storm early on, you should use a monitoring tool that quickly prepares the negative contributions. Always keep a cool head and try to determine exactly what the real problem is. Once you have identified this, you communicate on an equal footing and authentically. You will notice as quickly as the shitstorm came, it usually goes that quickly again.
Social media monitoring: You should avoid these mistakes
Facebook & Co .: Your company should avoid these social media mistakes