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When your bad news goes viral

Last week I was leading a training session to an eclectic group on damage control in the social sphere where I was talking to the attendees about the importance of formulating a plan and getting management buy-in before troubles happen. If not, the risk of a knee-jerk response, especially by non-internet savvy types, or a heavy handed approach on open, 3rd party social media platforms could lead to some embarrassing repercussions. Like what happened with Nestle where they got in a shouting match with the internet, and lost. It happened last spring, but it was covered a bit this month over on the Perception People blog.

A good example of a  series of pre-planned responses is in the form of a triage flow chart prepared by the American Society of Civil Engineers, which was highlighted in a post on SOCIALFish blog. Author Maddie Grant also listed 5 valid points she gleaned from the chart, but I suggest you add get buy in from the highest levels so when you have to put it in action folks don’t lose their nerve. This is a good write up on a timely topic, “what do I do when….” discussions always come up when I am addressing management about to undertake a concentrated social media effort. As Maddie mentions, this is a good visual, and is useful if tailored for each organization.

Sometimes problems are caused internally by not reading a situation through. For your Reading Pleasure blog author Lianne demonstrates how what could have been a positive activity, donating $100,000 to victims of Japan’s earthquake disasters, ended up as a PR challenge eliciting back-peddling from Microsoft’s search engine Bing. There are tons of example of missteps or errors, even from some of the powerhouses. Your goal may be to not let it happen to you. But when it does, make sure you have some sort of plan to execute from.