Crisis: Listening is Key

By Brandi Calhoun

What’s everyone saying about your crisis? Is it really as bad as you thought? Is it worse?

It’s important to listen to what the world is saying about your brand during a crisis. It’s likely that you’ll need to address concerns, answer questions and reassure your loyal customers that you’re working hard to right the wrong or fix the problem.

So where do you start to gather this information? You could stop people on the street and ask them their thoughts, but that might be a little weird and time consuming. Why not start where people share everything with the world? Social media!

Social media is where most people go to voice their opinions and complaints. You can easily search for what people are talking about on Facebook, Twitter and more using hashtags and keywords. Plug your company’s name in the search bar and see what comes up. Research industry-related topics or keywords related to your crisis. If you manage several accounts on various social platforms, Hootsuite can help you manage streams based on specific keywords.

The easiest way to get information is to Google your brand. You’ll see which news sites are writing about your crisis as well as how often they’re talking about it and what they’re focusing on. All important to know so you can address those issues during interviews or via your own social media accounts. The great thing about Google is you can set up alerts. Google Alerts allows you to choose keywords you’d like to receive news alerts for as soon as the keywords appear online. Talkwalker is another site that allows you to monitor keywords.

Research has consistently shown that listening is critical for communication and conflict resolution, especially during a crisis. Consumers want to make sure their voices are heard, especially when there’s a problem, so make sure you hear them out.

But it’s not just about you! Be sure to watch when a competitor experiences a crisis. Take special note of how they handle the crisis, how they talk about the situation and who covers the story. You can take those key learnings and build them into your own crisis plan.

The next blog in our crisis series will discuss the Crisis Call Tree, so stay tuned to find out whom to call for what and when.