Social media is the latest platform of choice for damage control. Partly because lately it is the best place to trigger the damage. News agencies end up picking an issue well after it had trended significantly in social media. There are two prerequisite when looking at social media for damage control: presence and listening.
As a company (or an individual) you need to have a vibrant social media presence. You need to be part of your social world. You cannot decide to come one day after the damage is done and try to do damage control using social media. It is very important to understand that you cannot control your brand on social media. Social media has not only leveled the playing field but has also provided a gigantic opportunity to anyone and everyone be creative and make themselves heard. All you can do is be present there and address issue as soon as possible, possibly before it becomes a big cause of concern.
This brings us to the second prerequisite. Listening is the most important thing when it comes to damage control. You cannot act till you are aware of what is happening. With all the buzz on social media and the growing volume in there, the biggest issue is for you to identify the real epicenter of the damage, the reason behind the damage and then strategize how to address it promptly.
Technology can help in deciphering the noise and listening what you need to focus on. People won’t talk to you all the time. If they hate you (or for that matter if they love you), they will tell their friends and followers about it. It is not possible for you to humanly keep track of everything. You need to understand what is the overall vibe, what are the actionable steps that can be taken and what are the changes that can be made to do the damage control.
Social media can be your best friend or your biggest enemy when it comes to damage control. The deciding factor becomes how well are you prepared to be a part of it. If you have the right technology and strategy to listen and understand the issues and address them, you can leverage social media to defuse a fire before it becomes wild.