We see artists and athletes making mistakes on and off the camera constantly. As a result, it’s important for the people behind the scenes to know how to manage these mishaps before they even happen.
Part of the reason we talk about social media crisis management is because what may seem like a small mistake in the moment can quickly spin out of control due to social media’s pace and reach. And it’s not only the “news” that spreads quickly, it’s rumors about people or events that get taken out of context and blown out of proportion. Social media is often like an international game of Telephone.
So, what can you do to make sure the issue is mitigated? How can you ensure peace in the face of chaos? Here are 5 steps to resolution:
1. Establish a dedicated response team
Bad things will happen no matter what you do to try to prevent them. Do what you can to keep your artist out of harm’s way, but make sure you have a point person established before mistakes arise. Train them in understanding what needs to happen if a crisis occurs so they know the appropriate action points. This way, everyone on your team will know who to turn to for guidance, and this person (or group) can delegate and handle the crisis efficiently.
2. Address the issue immediately
Crises can quickly escalate in severity if they are not addressed with the truth as soon as possible. Have your athlete or artist confront the issue head on with an apology via Twitter, Facebook, and any other social networks that they have a strong presence on. If your artist or athlete doesn’t believe they did anything wrong, help them understand that their fans are counting on them to make the right decisions and to stand up for what’s good and just. It doesn’t mean they have to change their habits or behavior, but it does mean that they have to take ownership for what happened, even if it’s not their fault.
3. Don’t bombard your athlete or artist with too many decisions
Craft the language around the apology for your athlete or artists so they don’t have to think about saying the wrong thing and making fans even more upset. This is a critical difference between entertainment marketing and brand marketing because athletes and artists are not necessarily trained to be business savvy and may not understand the importance of their words when it comes to fan engagement and, ultimately, sales. It’s a slippery slope in this case because you still want your artist or athlete to have their own voice, so the level of involvement here depends on how hands-on your artist or athlete wants to be. A good compromise is communicating your goals clearly with your artist, letting them write their own messaging, and delivering it to you for quick approval before they post it online. That way they’ll have a clear direction from you but can still be genuine.
4. Get your PR team involved
Your expertise in marketing can only take you so far. Bring your PR team on board to send out press releases and book interviews on the news, charity events, or more specific appearances that relate directly to the topic of the crisis. This way, fans will see your artist or athlete giving back and addressing the situation in person (or at least through YouTube) and feel like they care about what happened, are willing to take responsibility, and are striving toward maintaining a positive image.
5. Monitor constantly
Setting up an online alerts system is paramount in social media crisis management. If you’re notified immediately when negative news breaks, you’ll be able to start taking steps toward solving the issue right away. But that’s the only reason to have a reliable alerts system. You want to know whether your crisis plan has succeeded (or failed) after something bad has happened and been addressed. Have fans begun appreciating your artist or athlete more because of the way they handled the problem? Are people still blowing it all out of proportion? Do you need to take a different approach? These are all questions that can be answered by listening and analyzing the chatter that’s going on across the web 24/7.
Managing a celeb can be a stressful and tiring job, but you don’t have to make more work for yourself by worrying about what to do when disaster strikes. While you may not be able to prevent your artist from bad-mouthing another celebrity or keep your athlete from swearing on the court, you will be able to hedge the side effects and encourage a positive reaction from fans by following these 5 tips.