How WMCA handle crisis management with social media

There’s nothing worse than being stood in the rain with your umbrella blowing inside out while waiting for your bus – and we all know the British summer is at best, unpredictable. In early 2016 the weather was particularly torrential in Birmingham, UK, that led to four days of flash flooding in the space of a week, which forced roads to be closed and damaged properties. Crisis management with social media was the perfect solution.

Our client, the newly formed West Midlands Combined Authority covers several local authorities across the West Midlands, so the rain proved extremely challenging for them. With roads being flooded and closed across the region, they needed to keep their passengers informed with up to the minute information, while also managing a spike in customer queries. 

Discover our top tricks to dealing with an increases in incoming messages and managing a social crisis, helping you to make sure that you are ready come rain or shine.

Always be prepared

It’s impossible to know when trouble will strike – some are hard to predict – just like the good old British summer. But by ensuring that you have a social crisis plan and everyone knows their responsibilities, you can manage the severity of the emergency. When creating a social crisis plan it’s important to ask yourself a few questions – Why did this happen? How do I make our customers happy again? Do we reply to every inbound message or prioritise? If we prioritise, how do we decide who to respond to first? Do we continue to post out our scheduled content or pause all campaigns? Once you’ve asked yourself these questions and more, you’ll be in a better position to create your plan.

Have the man-power

It’s essential that during times of crisis incoming messages can be responded to quickly and by the relevant department. There’s no use a team of digital marketing executives dealing with hundreds of questions regarding timetables – your customers won’t receive the fastest and most effective response. They way to deliver this is to give members of each team a presence on social media. Give them training on social media best practice, but remember to keep things personal and human too.

Save time but don’t cut corners

When dealing with a significant increase in social messages it can sometimes be helpful to have some preset replies or template responses ready to help save time. It may be impossible to respond individually to every single tweet you receive, but with templates you can enable your team to respond in a fraction of the time whilst still providing an effective response.

Review where you could improve

When the clouds disperse and the sunshine reappears it’s essential to analyse how your brand coped with the crisis, identifying how and where you can improve your response next time. Harnessing the visibility and insights that a social media management platform provides, you will be able to review overall response times for SLA’s, sentiment – both at a macro and granular level. With this data at hand you can better plan your future crisis strategy, ensuring that if an emergency situation occurs again, you are fully-prepared.

If harnessed effectively, social media can provide an environment for you to strengthen relationships, grow your digital audience and build brand awareness. The rewards really outweigh the risks. All organisations worry that a crisis situation might one day unfold on social media, but by using best practice you can turn a difficult situation into an example of brilliant customer service, gaining additional brand loyalty from your followers.
If you think you could benefit from a social media management platform, please book a demo with us today.


Rhiannon BirchAbout the Writer:
Rhiannon Birch is PR & Marketing Coordinator at SocialSignIn. She is passionate about all aspects of writing and enjoys discussing the real-life stories behind social media. With two young children and three dogs, Rhiannon spends her (very little) spare time exploring new places and watching Star Wars.

If you’d like to connect on LinkedIn click here or follow her on Twitter @RhiSkywalker