How should we manage a crisis in social networks?

26 May 2023, By Arantxa Aguilera, Director of B2B, Corporate & Digital at Canela

When organizations develop their social media strategy, they take into account all kinds of details, such as content, tone of the message, image, frequency… However, they often overlook an important and increasingly necessary starting point for their strategy: crisis management.

The worst time to start planning for a social media crisis is when you're already in the midst of one.

Let’s start with the end: Wallapop Mother’s Day 2023. The second-hand item selling company launched a special campaign, in Spain, for Mother’s Day, which involved sending a message to its users: “Mom. Missed Call. She’s calling you to sell what you don’t use.” This seemingly positive message generated discomfort among users who had unfortunately lost their mothers. These internet users decided to express their anger on social media and gained the support of a large number of people.



This crisis, which can happen to any organization, can have serious consequences for companies: damage to their reputation, loss of trust and customers, direct impact on sales, and long-term erosion of image. These consequences can be minimized if organizations include crisis management in their social media strategy.

Keys to effective crisis management

To know how to manage a crisis when it happens and prevent it from getting worse, these are the points to take into account when creating a crisis management plan:

1. Research

Before developing a crisis management plan, it is crucial to anticipate potential scenarios that could trigger a crisis. It is important to analyze past crises within your own company, as well as those of competitors and the industry as a whole. Additionally, consider what announcements, issues, or failures could potentially lead to controversy. In essence, staying one step ahead of potential crises is essential.

2. Plan Development

At this stage, consider which individuals within the company should be involved in the crisis management team. Designate a “management team” and develop a specific protocol outlining the steps to be taken in a crisis scenario, the messages to be conveyed at all times, and the criteria for selecting and training the spokesperson responsible for communication. The management team should include company leadership, marketing, communications, customer service, and sometimes Human Resources.

3. Monitoring

To understand the crises your organization is facing, it is essential to know what is being said, how many people are reacting to the issue, and on which platforms. Conducting monitoring or social listening is important, and it involves using effective listening tools such as Digimind, Brandwatch, or Brand 24. These tools provide insights into the level of mentions and interactions related to keywords or brands. Once this information is gathered, it is necessary to assess the impact and magnitude of the events in order to find the best solution.

4. Response

This is the final and most crucial step, as the way an organization responds can either contain the crisis or escalate it further. To prevent the controversy from spreading, transparency is essential. Responding coherently and proactively is also vital. It’s important to address the issue in a timely manner and provide clear and honest communication to regain trust and mitigate the negative impact.

Strategies for success

In addition to the points mentioned above, there are several strategies to prevent harm to the organization. Firstly, speed is crucial. Once a crisis unfolds, time starts ticking, and every minute without a response from the company worsens the situation. However, as important as it is to be prompt in responding, it’s also crucial to take the time to think and decide what to say and how to say it. Along with responding quickly, if a retraction is necessary, the organization should acknowledge the failures with complete transparency and, if possible, explain how the issues will be rectified.It’s also possible to leverage a controversy for one’s own benefit, whether it originates externally or internally, which can even benefit a company. Just ask Renault or Casio, regarding the crisis sparked by Shakira’s song about Piqué. In any case, it is essential to consider public perception and show respect and empathy. As demonstrated in the earlier example of the Wallapop crisis, they managed to solve it with elegance and respect for their audience.

Want to know more? Here you can find “7 actions to deal with a social media crisis”.

But, does your company have a crisis management plan? Let’s talk about it


Arantxa Aguilera is Directora of B2B, Corporate & Digital at Canela.

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