8 Tips for Managing Negative Social Situations

October 10th, 2013

We’ve put together eight tips, which you may find useful to use in your social strategy. We also understand that no two situations are identical, but with these tips you will nevertheless be in a better position to take action if ever a negative scenario arises.

Why have 10 tips when you only need 8?

If you’re working on a tricky brand or social campaign, it’s highly likely that at some stage you will have to implement your crisis management strategy. We know ‘crisis’ sounds severe, but don’t panic as we only call it ‘crisis’ so that we are as prepared as can be for any negative social scenarios.

We’ve put together eight tips, which you may find useful to use in your social strategy. We also understand that no two situations are identical, but with these tips you will nevertheless be in a better position to take action if ever a negative scenario arises.

1) Don’t Panic

If you’re going to solve the issue in hand, you will need to have a clear head so that you can think rationally. In most cases there are a number of solutions, so don’t be rash with your actions. It’s more likely that you will cause even more problems by rushing into a response, so allow time to evaluate the issue and put together a solution.

2) Connect with your team

If you’re the person managing the account, don’t suffer in silence. As the old saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved, and it’s so true. Everyone will have a slightly different view on the situation, and by discussing the problem it could spark that ideal response you couldn’t quite grasp on your own.

3) Provide Updates

Behind most crisis scenarios is an individual simply looking for information. In most cases they just want to know what’s going on and how you’re going to solve their conundrum. They’re also most likely to be venting their frustration because of a lack of response, so even if you add a holding message of, “Thank you for your message, we will look into this for you and get back to you as soon as we have more information”. By acknowledging the issue straight away, the individual at least knows that you’re working on providing them with a solution. Timely updates can go a long way in diffusing the initial frustration.

4) Active Monitoring

There are lots of utilities such as Tweetdeck and Hootsuite that can help you monitor numerous social media accounts simultaneously. Here at Traffic, we are fans of having multiple screens to keep an eye on the conversations taking place online. Active monitoring allows you to jump into conversations or reply to questions in real-time; and after all, that is one of the key reasons why people use social media.

A number of you may use monitoring services, but you can’t beat having your own eyes on the conversations. We’re not saying you shouldn’t use external tools, but just keep in mind that some monitoring services won’t be able to interpret sarcasm or spelling errors; plus between you and your team it shouldn’t be an extensive task to make sure someone is checking in on the social channels regularly.

5) Active Search

When we say active search, we’re focused on keywords that you or your clients may appear in searches for, as well as abbreviations of company names. An example of this would be if your company was focused around home improvements, look for words such as ‘DIY’ and ‘decorating’. People may need help or be looking for your product/services without mentioning you, so don’t miss out on these opportunities.

6) Engage & Respond

If you only take one thing away from this blog, let it be this: “There are twice as many, if not thrice as many watchers as there are engagers”. In other words, just because only one person has voiced their opinion, it doesn’t mean that they are the only one listening. Many brands ignore individuals or take days to respond to them. If your company is guilty of this, all you are doing is reinforcing a message to the individual as well as the peripheral watchers that their opinion doesn’t matter to you.

If they are made to feel like you don’t care, then you’ll soon find that you have a stagnant social platform on your hands. So as we’ve already mentioned, at the very least post an honest holding message, until you can answer or feedback to the individual in greater detail.

7) Removing Comments

Out of sight, out of mind? We’re afraid that’s not the case. Too many brands simply delete or hide comments, which in most cases only adds fuel to the fire. Social media allows you to be transparent and even if someone has commented in a rage, by responding politely in a timely fashion it shows — if not to the individual then to everyone else — that you do care and you are working on a solution.

If the individual is persistent with comments and they become off-topic or offensive, remember that you are well within your rights to inform the individual that such commentary is not welcome on your page as it is a public and safe environment for your followers, and as a result you can then hide or remove their comments.

8) Personality

People choose to engage via social media because it facilitates a dialogue. They also want to communicate on a natural level, with human empathy rather than with automated responses. So when engaging with individuals or groups online, make sure your company or brand’s personality shines through; after all it’s the personalities of the people within the company that make it what it is.

Avoid responses that come across as if they’ve been through ten rounds of legal censorship or where the recipient needs a thesaurus to decipher the message. Don’t overthink things, simply be logical and keep common sense at the heart of the message.


These are just a handful of tips that we hope will help you out when looking at your social crisis management strategy. Traffic is always eager to learn a thing or two, so if you have any thoughts or tips of your own, we would love to hear them.