Social crisis communications tactics
“We learned very quickly that we needed to establish a plan,” Brickl said. He suggests that companies have a social media crisis communications plan in place prior to an incident. Here are the actions OV took to manage the various issues it has faced:
- Stick to the plan, but be ready to change it for effect
- Respond to every complaint quickly
- Formulate responses not just for the one, but for many (the people reading the feed)
- Do not use robotic PR speak
- Do not censor posts or ban users unless they violate etiquette guidelines
- Tell the truth!
[Source: Organic Valley's “Social Media and Food” slideshow.]
One tactful way to address individuals determined to derail productive engagement is to develop and post etiquette guidelines on the site as you “can’t ban someone unless you’ve given them the rules.” Brickl advises page administrators not block or delete the comments of its critics; however, should it need to block unruly commentators, these guidelines will support that action without reeking of censorship.
In the end, it’s the responsibility of all producers — organic or not — to educate consumers about the truths of farming and agribusiness rather than allow misinformed detractors to control perceptions. Social media offers the direct messaging opportunities and instant feedback unrivaled by traditional advertising and public relations campaigns.
Additional take-a-ways from the presentation:
- Not everyone knows the difference between pasture butter and regular butter. Consumers and producers debate the differences here.
- To evoke comments and engagement, don’t be afraid to post cutesy photos and light-hearted banter to add character to the brand as demonstrated with this image.
- If there is a Social Media Breakfast in your area, it’s free so I suggest you attend. Visit the website or “like” it on Facebook for a list of events.
To view a photo gallery from the event, visit Social Media Breakfast Madison’s Facebook album.