The Value-add of Social Listening to Crisis Mitigation

Every company faces the potential threat of a crisis or scandal. They come in various shapes and forms: bad press, negative reviews, tarnished reputations, unfavourable associations, ridiculed through online trends and more.

The success of any crises mitigation process is based on how well prepared a company is. A company should think ahead and have not only a plan B, but a plan C, D, E etc. Furthermore, having processes in place to prepare for a PR crisis, if one should strike, is not enough. A company needs to have the right processes. Sure, having plans in place are good for potential crises management.

However, your crises mitigation plans should be of good quality so as to be effective. The worst mistake a company could make is to have a plan of action that doesn’t work. This is where social listening adds value. Social Listening is essential to crisis management in today’s online climate.

Good crisis management boils down to good communications which boils down to good listening.

Using Social Listening to Mitigate Crises

Businesses can use social listening for the following benefits

1. Identify Potential Crises.

Identify issues and negative sentiment. Address them immediately based on insights from social listening.

2. Evaluate Mitigation Strategies.

Observe how social conversations on your brand change pre and post the implementation of your marketing strategy.

3. Increase Return-on-Investment.

Save your money on marketing strategies that aren’t delivering results. Get the highest return on investment of marketing resources.

4. Improve Satisfaction and Sales.

Listen to on-the-ground data and insights from the real stakeholders- your followers, audience and customers.

How Social Listening can solve common PR issues

1. Negative Headlines

The saying, ‘all news is good news in PR’ certainly doesn’t hold in today’s climate. Companies are increasingly fragile in the court of public opinion and there is such thing as death through trial by media.

Common solution: PR/Media release in response.

Social Listening solution: Do not have to wait for headlines or to become the news. Things escalate to the news because one feels injustice or unsatisfied, if you are able to identify an issue via sentiment analysis when someone first complains about it and respond immediately, it eliminates the problem. Things trend quickly in the courts of social justice. Improve your response time so that the topic is not able to reach the news.

2. Trends and Viral stories.

Today’s journalism tends to jump on trends and regurgitate similar stories. Trends can work to benefit your company immensely, however if your company is affiliated to negative trends, or trends for the wrong reasons… your company’s image and reputation may not be salvageable.

Common solution: Have a media release responding to individual media outlets, or release a wider company statement addressing the issue.

Social Listening solution: Identify which platforms are causing the commotion via mention counts and topical tracking. Get involved in conversations with the right people on the right platforms to nip the issue/story before it spreads. Furthermore, respond to them quickly, as soon as they are posted.

3. Information grabbing.

We are referring to the instance when there is a viral story concerning your company (perhaps from a user complaint or bad customer experience) but there is a lack of information to you on what exactly happened.

Common solution: Inquiring via email, calls or waiting for a media release on more information.

Social Listening solution: Find out from social listening more information on situations, without filter, from the ground. Useful to ensure your response is based on the correct information.

4. Evaluating reviews / comments.

With the number of people online increasing exponentially over the last decade, there is a wealth of information available. There is a lot of useful untapped information from what the public and online social media users are saying in the crevices of the big web, on your NWO and your peers that are of commercial value to your company.

Common solution: Using Google Alerts for keyword mentions. But they don’t always catch everything.

Social Listening solution: Reduce the workload of having to sort through positive/negative comments. Social Listening specified services, like Latent, is able to give you alerts for not only brand names, but related keywords and topics via topical tracking.

5. Negative Comments

Common solution: Employ a community manager to Googling / sifting through comments and respond to them online. Manually responding to negative comments randomly.

Social Listening solution: Immediate alerts on negative sentiments via sentiment analysis. Mention counts and topical tracking gives you informed insights on whether to respond to a comment or not. Determine which comments need direct and immediate responses and which do not, rather than doing it randomly and hope that you don’t miss any out. Save the costs and resources of a community manager and digitise your analysis with speed, convenience, and accuracy.

6. Fluctuating brand reputation.

Common solution: Push PR and advertising to establish a positive image.

Social Listening solution: Monitor your reputation online via social listening to your stakeholders directly on-the-ground 24/7. Monitor the fluctuations in brand reputation and address them before they plunge via sentiment analysis tracking.

7. Ineffective crisis management

Imagine the scenario when your company is involved in a scandal. The story are gaining momentum and escalating fast online. What plan do you put in place? What should you do when your PR/marketing strategies seem to have no or little effect in mitigating the crisis?

Common solution: Reusing the same marketing/crisis management strategies over and over. Brainstorming a different crisis plan in place based on hypothetical scenarios from your team.

Social Listening solution: Create more informed crisis management plans via data analytics tools based on on-the-ground data from your stakeholders. Evaluate which response / strategy had an effect on sentiment online. Identify which strategies produce results and which not to waste resources on.

Crisis mitigation is a tool all companies require more than ever. You would not want to be in a position where your company is in a position of helplessness and you feel like the situation is out of your control. Crisis mitigation is essentially putting the right processes in place to prepare for a PR crisis if one should strike. In a time where many discourses happen online, social listening adds immense value to your CRM.

Remember: Good crisis management ultimately boils down to good communications which boils down to good listening.