Social Media Triage: What To Do When The Virtual Crap Hits The Fan

In the on-line world of social platforms, not everything is sunshine and rainbows. In fact, it is almost a given there will be Troll hiding under your Virtual Bridge at some point.

I want share this great article Social Fish on the “Social Media Triage Chart” or basically, what to do when the virtual crap hits the fan. Negative feedback and complaints are a fact of life on social media platforms. It doesn’t happen a lot, but it does happen.

Some come in the form of customer complaints, some are spam, some may be people acting brainless and inappropriate. Chances are, your business will never have a social media crisis to the extreme scale of ones like United Airlines or Dominos Pizza experienced, but having a social media triage plan in place is definitely a good idea for all businesses. Special thanks to friend and fellow social-media-head Mark Fyten for bringing this chart to my attention.

Here’s an excerpt from the Social Fish article:

There are several key points encapsulated in a flowchart like this.

1) Learning to participate in the social web – not just listening and monitoring, but responding as well – involves understanding that a level of freedom must be given to any staff member using social media.

There are definitely many, many kinds of positive comments and posts where a simple “thanks for the comment!”, or agreement, or encouragement, or acknowledgment is better than deafening silence from the organization.  In this example, “adding value” is the key question – and sometimes showing you’re listening and present adds value.

2) Social media triage goes hand in hand with a crisis communications plan, but doesn’t replace it.

With regards to negative comments or posts, this kind of flowchart can help your staff figure out if it’s ok for them to deal with the issue themselves or whether something needs to be escalated internally to those with particular expertise.  This is not about allowing anybody to deal with anything.

3) It’s ok to wait to see if your community steps in.

Putting a negative comment through the flowchart steps also helps people to take a step back and wait just a little while – sometimes, if you’re nurturing your open community and they care about the organization, the community will step in and correct things without you needing to do anything.

4) You can establish a timeframe for response.

Depending on your particular organization and community activity, you might have a culture of speedier or slower response times (though you should have infrastructure in place to monitor 24/7 either way, because social media doesn’t stop at 5 pm or on the weekends).  The flowchart can set expectations for staff about parameters for responding (in the case of this example, within 24 hours if something doesn’t require an urgent response.)

To read more about Social Fish’s Social Media Triage Strategy go HERE

Five reasons why a decision flow-chart makes sense

  1. Scalability: Staff can be brought into the social media workflow quicker with simple directions.
  2. Consistency – A simple response policy means that you’ll more likely respond as one voice, instead of many disjointed voices.
  3. Alignment – You can ensure that tactical responses on social media aligns with your over-arching business goals.
  4. Speed – The quicker foot-soldiers understand protocol, the quicker comments get responded to.
  5. Smarts – Granting the ability for staff to make decision on how to respond means that legal council can spend time on genuine legal issues.

NOTE from LAMS Comm:Before you pull the trigger and respond to a negative comment, keep in mind that not every situation calls for a reaction. Some companies push the panic button and over-react when a simple apology or clarification of information would have been just the ticket.



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