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Author's avatar By Expert commentator 03 Jun, 2015
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How to manage a PR crisis using social media intelligence

Manage a Crisis Using Social Intelligence

Sometimes, however much you prepare, a crisis is unavoidable. It can at happen at any time and for any number of reasons but whatever happens companies and organisations need to try to manage the crisis when it happens. Of course this has become quite tricky with the incredible volume of posts on social networks making it hard to track every facet of a problem. But with the right social media intelligence software, PR and Communications teams can better manage a potential crisis situation.

Social data is of particular use in two stages of a crisis: detecting the beginnings of a crisis and managing the crisis. This post will explain how social intelligence (monitoring and analysing online data) can help you manage these two stages quickly and effectively.

Detecting a crisis

Understanding the sentiment towards your company, brand and/or client is the first step towards detecting a potential crisis. Spikes in negative and even neutral activity should be treated with caution as they could be the first indicators of an oncoming crisis.

1. How much negativity is there?

Negativity in social sentiment
These metrics give you an instant idea of whether you are facing an impending crisis.

By looking at the share of sentiment you can see what proportion of mentions of your company or brand are positive, negative or neutral. The two mention gauges (middle) give you the total numbers of results and the total negative results with an indication of how this has changed from the previous period.

By looking at spikes in negative (or even neutral mentions) you can quickly see whether potentially problematic online discussions are on the rise.

By comparing the volume of total mentions to the volume of negative mentions you can instantly get an idea of the scale of the issue you are dealing with.

2. Understanding negativity

Having tracked the timing and the volume of negative mentions, you now need to quickly understand where the issue is originating and what it is about.
understanding negativity in social media sentiment

The top two tables show you which media channels critical conversations are originating from divided by levels of engagement, potential reach and number of results. The three theme clouds below them show you the main topics linked with your brand, the negative mentions linked with your brand and the negative hashtags.

By knowing which media channels are generating the most conversation you can start to target your crisis communications accordingly. Understanding the topics and hashtags linked to your brand helps you get a deeper knowledge of exactly how the crisis is being discussed which, in turn, gives you an idea of how to shape your messaging.

3. Crisis locations

cricis map world wide social conversations
A world map of mention locations shows you where social conversations are taking place and the volume of discussion in each region.

For global brands in particular, knowing which countries or regions to focus on can help save valuable time when devising a global communications strategy, especially if actions need to be coordinated with regional partners.

Managing an ongoing crisis

Once you have detected a crisis that needs to be dealt with, the next step is managing that crisis and digging deeper into its causes and the way in which it is spreading.

1. Change over time

Crisis indicators
The top three gauges show you the total level of mentions and engagement as well as the potential reach of these mentions. The ticker shows whether this level has increased or decreased in comparison to the previous period. The line graph below them shows levels of positive and negative mentions over the last seven days.

With this information PR professionals can track the progression of a crisis situation with hard social metrics and see whether the problem is increasing or decreasing.

The engagement and potential reach figures give a sense of how far the crisis has proliferated and how much interest it is generating among the online public.

2. A clearer picture

Crisis related themes
The top two charts show the reach and engagement of mentions about your company divided by media types (top left) and the sentiment chart (top right) shows the positivity and negativity by media type. The theme clouds below them hone in on just the negative topics and hashtags that are being discussed in relation to your brand.

By understanding the reach, engagement and sentiment by media type, you can quickly see which media channels are having the biggest effect on your company’s social reputation. By cross referencing the sentiment with the engagement level for example, you can hone in on the problem areas and present your message more effectively on those platforms.

3. Who are the Influencers?

Reaching influencers
The top results (top left) show all the results classed as negative across all media channels whereas the results on the top right show only negative Twitter results. The table below them shows the Twitter accounts that have posted the largest number of negative results sorted by the level of engagement they have generated.

Influencers are a key part of any communications strategy in the social media age and understanding exactly what they are saying about your company is critical. Engagement figures help you to establish exactly who is the most influential, helping you prioritise your communications activities.

The vast amount of data online in the form of posts on social networks, online news article and blogs, has definitely made the process of tracking and understanding a crisis more challenging. However, the fact that all this public data can be tracked and measured means that using social listening insights, can be gleaned that were previously virtually impossible to find.

By following these steps and using fast, easy to use and intuitive software you can make sure that your next crisis doesn’t spiral out of control.

Image Source/Copyright: Freeimages.com

Thanks to Richard Sunley for sharing their advice and opinions in this post. Richard is a Copywriter and Communications Officer of Talkwalker You can follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

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Managing a Social Media CrisisNegative Online PR

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