Developing your Social Media Crisis Radar, Part 3

Social Media Crisis

Want to learn about Crisis Radar from square one? Get up to speed by reading Part One and Part Two.

Welcome to the third and final blog in our series, “Crisis Communications: Developing your Social Media Crisis Radar.” If you joined us for parts one and two, you are almost ready to test your Crisis Radar out in the wild. We are now going to work on the third and final foundation of your crisis radar: a graphical understanding of negative mentions. The growth in negative mentions is a key point of interest in crisis diagnosis. When negative mention growth quickly rises outside of normal territory, this is often a sign of worse things to come. Someone able to recognize this in their social media data will be able to take action as soon as possible.

With any brand, some negative mentions are par for the course. As they say, “haters gonna hate.” Consequently, there should be a relatively stable amount of negative mentions you can expect in a day or week. This may be two to four times a week for a medium sized brand, for example. The amount will vary by brand. Recording the amount of negative mentions for a few months should give you a good idea of what to expect from your brand. The larger the date range you observe, the better.

Once you understand what is “normal” negative mention growth in your community, you’ll know what “abnormal” growth looks like. You want to pay attention to both the size and speed of growth. When negative mentions grow unusually large and quickly, that’s when alarm bells should go off for any community manager. It could signal a reputation-endangering event creating an uproar.

Let’s take a look at how to find the cusp of a social media crisis graphically.  Imagine, again, the medium-size brand with a typical negative mention rate of two to four per week. This is how chatter and impending crisis differ graphically for that brand:

Social Media Crisis GraphSocial Media Crisis Negative Mentions

We see that the graph on the left is fairly even, almost flat. The amount of negative mentions on any given day is unchanged from the norm. The graph on the right shows a different story. Negative mentions are steeply increasing towards the right of the chart, starting on Tuesday. It would be a good idea to examine what issue may have come to light on that day, and deduce if the uptick in negative mentions is related.

Add this data awareness to your monitoring approach, and your Crisis Radar will thank you. The secret to catching disaster early is monitoring, monitoring, and more monitoring! Remember to combine it with the practice of sketching out crisis before they happen – this will show you what red flags to watch for. You’ll then know when you have chatter or social media crisis on your hands. That’s right, your Crisis Radar will be ready to use in the real world.

Wondering what to do once you actually catch a crisis? The answer: talk to us!  We’ve counseled many brands on how to handle their social media crisis, and we’re happy to help you too. Contact us here.

Savannah Whitman

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Posted on November 22, 2016 in Crisis Communications, Social Media

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