5 Tips for Handling a Facebook Firestorm

I came across a social media crisis article on prdaily.com. Social media is a major tool in public relations but can sometimes be a battleground for angry fans. This article gives 5 tips for handing a crisis on Facebook. The article was written by Chris Syme who is a consultant in crisis communications and social media strategy.

Here is the link to the article:
http://prdaily.com/crisiscommunications/Articles/12984.aspx

Tip 1: Make sure you have a posting policy visible.

This is usually found in the about me section on an organizations Facebook page or can be its own tab on the page. The purpose of the posting policy is so people know what is acceptable and unacceptable to post and why their comment may be deleted or hidden. There is a great example of a posting policy in Syme’s article.

Tip 2: Filter the public posts and comments for the crisis at hand with the Manage Permissions tab.

Facebook offers a function that will allow you to mark certain words as spam. You are able to change this setting at anytime. This is a good way to weed out hateful comments. Another tip that Syme’s says is important is setting your profanity block list to “strong.” Don’t delete negative posts, as long as they are civil.

Tip 3: Be selective about “liking” positive posts.

Syme’s says to be careful about joining the conversation. She usually “likes” 10 to 15 percent comments coming in. She only “likes” the ones that are supportive of her organization.

Tip 4: Be selective about deleting, hiding, and blocking.

There will be comments you don’t like. Syme’s says do not delete them! It is important for people to vent and let out their frustration. Only hide comments that violate your posting policy. Be careful when blocking a “fan.” Only block a fan that is constantly being offensive and sneaks through the filters over and over. Keeping civil negative comments is important because it lets other users know you are not trying to ignore their voice, you are just trying to keep it civil and productive.

Tip 5: Let the people vent

This can be hard, especially if it is your own company. It will be difficult to hear negativity towards you all day long but it is important for people to let it out. Try not to take it personally and just learn from it. Don’t engage a mad fan online, instead put something in the posting policy about how they can contact you off the page. If you let it all flow eventually the issue will die. Just make sure you have a crisis plan put in place before the hand and you will make it through.

This article relates well to what BP eventually did. When they finally started using their resources right, social media turned into a place for people to vent, which ended up being very healthy for the crisis. Social media not only lets us reach our publics but also lets them have a place to voice their opinion. It is important for us to know how to handle a firestorm on Facebook, Twitter, etc. so we can get the crisis over as soon as possible. Just keep the social media talk healthy and not offensive and your crisis should die out smoothly.

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