5 Ways to Manage a Social Media Crisis

It’s bound to happen at least once. A tweet gets sent out that’s not supposed to. An email is sent out to the wrong mailing list. And then it starts. The storm of comments, tweets, and all around unhappy messages on social media. You have a crisis on your hands. Now what are you going do to handle it?

Sofie De Beule of Social Media Examiner describes a social media crisis in two ways:

First, external factors such as a natural disaster, human tragedy or something related to your industry can cause people to reach out to your social media accounts. Second, a social media crisis can be initiated on the platform itself due to an insensitive tweet or inappropriate picture, for example.

This can create trouble, backlash, and outrage for your brand in minutes and will only grow if not handled in a timely manner. It’s imperative to remember a social media crisis cannot be ignored. 

Below are some tips to best control social media crises:

  1. Have a strategyMake sure your brand is prepared for a crisis, because despite your best efforts, there is always the possibility that it will happen at least once.

    Now, depending on your brand, this might take the form of a fully developed course of action with a pre-appointed team with a leader, specific protocol, and brand-specific diction for responding on social media. Or, it could be a group of people with various positions within the brand that are consistently reachable in the event of a crisis to assess the situation and go from there.

    Regardless, a brief plan is better than no plan. You don’t want to leave your brand completely unprepared because that will only increase the problem.

    For example, in 2013 Appleebee’s created a social media and PR nightmare after a photograph of a receipt showing a customer’s name went viral on Reddit and the poster of the image was fired, only for people to realize the Appleebee’s official Facebook post had posted a receipt two weeks prior also showing a customer’s name. This caused a huge controversy with thousands of people demanding Applebee’s rehire the waitress.

    Instead, Applebee’s posted an apology on their Facebook page that within hours had over 10,000 negative comments. At 2:5am, with the post now having upwards of 17,000 negative comments, an Applebee’s official commented on the status, which was not the wisest decision.

    The drama continues as Applebee’s “is allegedly deleting negative comments left and right, as well as blocking people from its Facebook page”, which is exactly what not to do when dealing with a social media crisis. At the same time this is allegedly occurring, Applebee’s Facebook official is now tagging people and repeatedly using the same comment.

    The situation continue to escalate and Applebee’s then “hid” the original post, which appeared as through they had deleted the post, which further grew the problem. By end of the first 24 hours the original post had 19,000 negative comments and two subsequent posts both had around 11,000.

    It is clear that at this point, Applebee’s did not effectively manage this crisis. It seems that those in charge of mediating the issue were not following a crisis management plan, which harmed their brand’s perception and business.

    Moral of the story: Have a plan.

    Here are some best practice’s from an infographic on Social News Daily:

    Crisis Management Best Practices
    From Social News Daily


  2. Be timely

    During a social media crisis: Timing is everything.

    In order to effectively combat a crisis while simultaneously managing and maintaining the respect and loyalty of subsribers and customers, it is crucial to act quickly. Assess the situation and gather as much information as possible and then issue a public response on the social media channel where the problem originated.

    The faster the response or apology is issued, the more likely your brand is to retain customers and decrease backlash.

    Unlike Appleebee’s, Buffer, who suffered a hack, responded so quickly that some users hadn’t had a chance to notice the hack:

    Buffer Hack Response
    Graphic from Social Media Examiner’s “Crisis Management: What to Do When Your Business Makes a Public Mistake”

    To follow up, Buffer posted frequent updates about the hack on their blog. This tactic is helpful because it keeps an organized log of the entire situation and the management strategy for public record and future reference.

  3. Keep social channels in mind

    A huge part of social media is creating appropriate content for specific channels and during a crisis, this is even more important. It won’t look good to your customers if the incident happened on YouTube and the apology is just posted on Facebook.

    In 2012, “a KitchenAid employee tweeted an insensitive comment about President Obama’s grandmother from the brand’s account” and the head of the company responded on Twitter (where the problem originated) minutes later:

    KitchenAid Tweet
    Graphic from Social Media Examiner’s “How to Handle a Social Media Crisis”
  4. Own it

    Perhaps one of the simplest but most important tips: take responsibility for the problem, even if you aren’t at fault. Admitting fault and responding with an apology and solution are the most effective ways to manage the crisis and move on.

    As seen in Applebee’s issue, denial will get you nowhere.

  5. Monitor the situation

    During the crisis it is important to keep track of the problem on ALL social media channels. Set up Google Alerts for relevant people, issues, and hashtags.

    If possible, have multiple people able to respond to social media messages across channels, keeping in mind to have a standardized tone for consistency. You want to sound like one unified brand, not five different people mediating the situation.

    Monitoring systems like Hootsutie and TweetDeck can make this easier.

Here’s a fantastic infographic from Ragan’s PR Daily about social media crisis management:

Planning for and Managing a Social Media Crisis
Infographic from Ragan’s PR Daily “Planning for a social media crisis”

There you have it! Five ways to help make it through a social media crisis…but hopefully you won’t have to.


5 Reasons your Nonprofit should use Pinterest

Pinterest is growing steadily as a social media platform and, for some nonprofits, will make a great addition to your social media strategy. This is especially true if your nonprofit does not have a large enough staff to maintain a social media strategy that spans multiple platforms.

In fact, Pinterest’s active user base has grown by 111% in the last six months.

Pinterest Growth Chart
Graphic by 20 Amazing Facts About Pinterest Marketing That Will Surprise You

Below are five key reasons your nonprofit should consider taking on Pinterest:

  1. VisualsThe most important part of Pinterest is that every pin requires a visual. This can be a photograph, a gif, a graphic, or a video. People love infographics and a great, user friendly site to create infographics is Canva.

    Pinterest’s visual component is an effective one for nonprofits because you can post photos about your mission or cause that encourages clicks. These are considered call to action images that can boost engagement, which on Pinterest are repins.

    Over 80% of pins are repins.

    Typically, these visuals should be accompanied with a link to your website or blog that specifically directing people to information about how to donate or get involved with your cause.

    Along with this is a pin’s caption, which should explain either the image or the content it’s linked to. The most effective caption has between 100-200 characters.

    Blue vs Orange Images
    Visit Beautify Your Content: 8 Image Features that Shine on Pinterest for more tips on creating content.
  2. LongevityUnlike Facebook and Twitter, pins have an incredibly long lifespan.

    The average pin is remains relevant on Pinterest for 3.5 months, compared to 24 minutes on Twitter and 90 minutes on Facebook.

    This is crucial for nonprofits that aren’t able to devote a lot of time to social media, especially if the pin is a call to action image that includes your logo and links back to your website.

    Additionally, Pinterest boasts the longest engagement time on social media with the the average time spent on Pinterest 14.2 minutes per visit. The longer people spend on Pinterest, the more likely they are to engage with your cause.

  3. Boards

    Tip: Make the most of your boards.

    Pinterest allows you to create multiple boards, which is where you post your content. How you choose to organize these boards can have a huge impact on the effectiveness of your Pinterest campaign.

    -Use original content
    -Don’t use solely original content
    -Include more than just your cause

    When making boards it’s important to have multiple boards devoted to different things. Definitely have one to promote your nonprofit’s mission or cause with information about:

    -What your cause is
    -Where and how to get involved
    -Links to your website and blog
    -Your logo

    This board can be a great place to include a brand specific infographic.

    Another key board should have information about your sponsors and influencers. Let people know who they are and don’t forget to thank them! People love to be recognized and this builds relationships between your nonprofit and your supporters, which can foster a desire to engage outside of social media.

    Along with this: follow and repin content from people who frequently engage with you on Pinterest.

    Other ideas for boards: give personality to your nonprofit. Have boards that are reflective of other elements of your nonprofit besides the main cause.

    Chelsea Alexander-Taylor suggests in Should Your Nonprofit Organization be on Pinterest?: “Create boards about your favorite places to eat in the city or the best parks in your neighborhood.”

    The ASPCA is a great example for effective Pinterest boards.

  4. Share ability

    All three of the above reasons to use Pinterest culminates in its share ability. This is key information to remember when optimizing your other social media sites:

    -Include “pin it” buttons on your websites and specific blog posts
    -Make sure there are engaging visuals in the posts since all pins need an image
    -Have a headline or caption that goes along with the pin

    People are more likely to pin a post or image rather than Tweet it or post it on Facebook, so take advantage of this when creating content.
    Pinterest Meme

  5. Tailwind

    Unlike other social media platforms, Pinterest requires a lot of time to maintain. On average, posting 15-30 times a day results in the best engagement levels. But it’s important to spread these out over the day, which is where Tailwind comes in.

    Tailwind is a website that allows you to schedule pins in advance to have consistent content on your site.Tailwind also offers analytics for your Pinterest account to track engagement and modify your posts accordingly.

Pinterest is not for everyone. Don’t take on this social media platform is your nonprofit can’t effectively maintain the visual content. But if you’re able to, give it a try! After all, a 3.5 month shelf life is better than a 24 minute one.

Why Vine? 3 Reasons Nonprofits Should Advertise on Vine

Vine, a 6-second looping video, has been suggested by some to be going out of fashion in favor of Snapchat and Instagram, especially since it lacks a specific advertising formula. Unlike other social media platforms, Rebecca Lisi points out that Vine requires more organic and stealthy marketing to be successful. It can still be successful, as long as you’re reaching out to a specific, younger audience.

  1. Targeting a younger audienceVine’s short length is ideally suited for a younger audience, since Vines can have an addictive quality when created effectively.It is important to remember that millennials are cause driven so when trying to advertise to this market it is crucial to include your cause or message in the Vine, like the Human Rights Campaign does here.The Millennial Impact Study conducted by Achieve and the Case Foundation found:

    85 percent are motivated by a compelling mission or cause.

    If a Vine is addictive, many younger people will be more inclined to share it with their friends or post it on social media sites, which can expand your brand awareness. SurePayroll found that:

    Branded Vines receive 400% more shares than branded videos.

Here is an infographic created by SurePayroll with more key information about using Vine:

Vine strategy infographic
Vine Infographic by SurePayroll

2. Connect with influencers

Since Vine’s typical audience is organic, a great way to spread your brands message is by getting involved with Vine influencers. These are people who have massive followings within Vine, which can spread your cause to a wide range of people.

Recently, Twitter acquired Niche, a startup that works with brands to connect them with Vine influencers to promote their brand.

For instance, this Vine created by Logan Paul with Dunkin Donuts

From here, if Vine is not the ideal platform for your brand, you can share the Vine on other social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

3. Using a genre that fits your brand

There are numerous genres that be used on Vine from comedy to documentary and it is essential to choose the genre that fits with your brand’s cause.

When using Vine for advertising, you should be conscious of what your target audience is looking for, but you don’t want to do so at the expense of your message. For example, if your nonprofit is devoted to stopping animal cruelty a heartwarming Vine will probably be more successful than a funny one.

Digital Information World has put together a helpful list of 14 Do’s and Don’ts of Vine Marketing.

After all, the most important thing to remember about Vine is that its success is based on how well it suits your target audience.


4 Twitter Tips for Nonprofits

Twitter is popular among nonprofit organizations due to its engagement levels. Unlike Facebook, Twitter is used more for networking and sharing short pieces of information.

Twitter is great for building brand awareness and making new connections.

Twitter’s 140-character limit lends itself to posts that are concise, specific, and sharable. 

Nonprofits can effectively build connections and increase donations with help from the steps below:

  1. Embrace hashtags

    Hashtags increase search ability of your tweets, so make sure to use a hashtag that will attract users to your page.

    Be original! When tweeting, try to use an evergreen hashtag that is consistent with your brand and your message.

    When possible, use trending hashtags to increase traffic and engagement. But make sure to research the tag first! It may be connected to something you don’t want to associate with your brand.

    tweet without hashtag

  2. Include visuals

    Since much of social media today is visual, it is no surprise that posting images and video increase engagement on Twitter.

    Including visuals is a great way to share information that requires more than 140 characters. Don’t forget to include your logo and hashtag since visuals have increased share ability.

    Additionally: Twitter is a great place for call to action images that can boost engagement levels.

  3. Set aside time to engage

    Schedule 15-20 minutes 2-3 times a day to respond to tweets and engage with new followers. Show users that your brand is interested in hearing what they have to say.

  4. Live tweet

    Live tweet during events to build interest in your organization. Show users what you’re doing to raise awareness and donations.

    Post photos in real time and ask for attendees’s username to tag them in photos. This adds a level of engagement for supporters in attendance because it recognizes them on social media, which may encourage increased involvement with the organization.

Twitter is a great social media channel to increase engagement and involvement between users and your organization. Remember: be creative and don’t forget to hashtag!

Here’s an example of how to turn this into an email newsletter using Canva:
4 twitter tips for nonprofits

3 Ways to Improve Social Media Engagement

Social media engagement is incredibly important to the growth and success of a brand. It encourages communication between the brand (you) and the target audience, which increases sales, donations, and/or overall traffic.

In 47 Superb Social Media Marketing Stats and Facts, Tom Pick included:

“Engagement” (such as likes, shares, etc.) is considered the most important metric for evaluating social media marketing success, with 80% of marketers identifying it as one of the top three metrics. Audience size (61%) and website traffic (56%) round out the top three. (Simply Measured)

which accurately sums up the impact effective media engagement can have. Below are some tips to increase your brand’s engagement levels:

  1. Get involved!

    Perhaps the most effective way to increase social media engagement is by engaging with your audience! Get involved:

    Join or host a Twitter chat
    Hold a Q&A session
    Host a giveaway or contest
    Make a poll, survey, or quiz (SurveyMonkey)

    Show visitors that your brand’s social media presence is active and interested in communicating with them. From 10 Remarkable Twitter Statistics for 2015:

    The average Twitter user follows five or more businesses. Over a third (37%) of Twitter users will buy from a brand they follow.

    Engaging with your target audience on social media allows a relationship to form, which can increase visitor interaction.

  2. Be personable!

    Along with getting involved on social media, letting the brand’s personality shine through when using social media can increase social media engagement levels by showing that there are real, free-thinking people on the other side of the screen.

    Individualize the brand through content production. Show visitors that there is a human(s) behind the corporate logo.

    Use humor
    Respond quickly and fully
    Include visual media that showcases the brand’s voice
    Be relatable

    Not Sure If Real Person

  3. Be unique!

    When using the above tips: be creative!

    Be original when creating polls or quizzes and when hosting contests to attract more entries. Engaging and attractive content draws more traffic.

    TIP: Make entry guidelines fun, easy, and creative.

    For example: in April 2014 Marc Jacobs created a contest giving real people the chance to be cast as a model. Participants had to post an image on Twitter or Instagram with #CastMeMarc. There were nearly 15,000 entries within the first 24 hours.

    This shows the power of a creative contest and simple but effective hashtag.

    > Overall: when trying to increase social media engagement, it is crucial to be active on social media in a personable and creative way. Show visitors that your brand is real and interested in hearing what they have to say.


6 WordPress Tips for Beginners

  1. Don’t neglect the “about” page

    It is important for websites to have a static page, which is where the content remains unchanged, to let readers learn about your business. This is most commonly done through the “about” page, which should have information about the business/brand and what it can do for your reader.

    The “about” page is a great place to share images/media centered on what your business has done/is doing. Show readers who you are and how you can help/what you have to offer. Humanize your brand.

    Also: include the contact information for your business

  2. Share! Share! Share! 

    Make sure you’ve enabled the share buttons at the end of each post so that readers can share the post on other social media sites like Pinterest or Twitter. This helps spread the word and generate more readers.Make sure to have a targeted image accompany the post to attract new readers on other social media platforms.

    Additionally: share the post on your own social media sites encouraging others to read and share. Sharing, after all, is caring.

  3. Incorporate visuals/media

    Each post should include an image, graphic, or media that is relevant to the post content. Not only do visuals enhance the quality of the post, but also it increases the likelihood of readers sharing your post.

    A well-placed infographic or meme can increase the readability of the post and encourage people to keep reading.

    It is important to note the usage rights of images and it is important to give credit where it is due. Make sure to use Google’s search tools to find images labeled for reuse to avoid copyright issues.

    When possible, it is best to use your own images/media, like the above meme created through Meme Generator. Another great website is Canva.

  4. Be aware of language

    Keep it simple! Your blog may have a diverse readership and it is important to keep your sentences easy to understand and informative. Be wary of unnecessary or highly specialized language, but also don’t use overly simplistic, short sentences. Give your reader some credit.

    Use keywords as well to improve your blog’s SEO.

  5. Choose effective titles 

    Along with being aware of your post’s language, be aware of the title. One of the most important elements of a blog post is the title. It draws the reader in and should be direct and to the point.

    An effective title is informative, interesting, and attractive. After all, this is one of the first steps to getting readers to your blog.

    The title should use keywords to increase SEO.

  6. Don’t forget about SEO

    SEO (search engine optimization) is how search engines find websites to show under search results. It is important to have words in your post match what you think your target audience will search. Having an optimized site will help your target audience find your website.

    Using plugins, such as Yoast SEO is a great way to manage and keep your website’s SEO up to date.