Do you know which metrics to monitor when facing a social media crisis? Get a pen ready and write these crisis management metrics down for future reference! Seconds count went you’re tasked with putting out an online fire.
Metric #1: Sentiment-in-motion
You’ll want to be tracking sentiment before, during and after a crisis, to have a full account of the fallout.
This will help you have a better grasp of scope. Sometimes a situation seems much larger than it is when in the moment. This can help provide a bit of perspective to keep things moving forward, but a little less (or more) frantically, depending on where your typical sentiment lands.
As you can see from the chart, sentiment can range from -100 (hate) to 100 (love). And based on an analysis of more than 200 brands, NetBase found that most brands have a net sentiment score of 50. Brands with the highest degree of negative sentiment have scores of 0 to slightly negative, such as -10. A score below 50 means that net sentiment for the topic is lower than most brands.
Much like the example above though, your brand may already be in the red, so understanding that ahead of a crisis will save you a few little heart attacks, no doubt!
Be sure to use the Sentiment Drivers widget to evaluate what people are they saying when they post negatively. And also consider top emotions and behaviors to inform issue response.
Metric #2: Find the Root of the Drama
Who started this mess for your brand? The obvious answer is you, of course. Your brand failed in some fashion, unless there’s been a huge misunderstanding. But you need to sort it out either way – and fast. Who got the ball rolling online? And were they the original source, or was it someone else? Finding and eliminating the source of the fire is your fastest salve for this burn.
It might feel like it’s pretty easy to find this info – and it often is, when it comes to a crisis. But even then, you need to go deeper than the surface “this is patient zero” identification. Some questions to consider:
- What happened to cause this crisis, specifically? There’s often more than meets the eye.
- Could you have prevented it – how? Was it an honest mistake or was there mischief on someone’s part?
- Who is the person complaining/driving the drama?
- Does this person have motivation to do this? A history of doing this or a grudge against your company or the person involved?
- How can you make it right with the offended party/parties? What are they asking for and is it reasonable?
You need all the information you can possibly have about the crisis pretty immediately, and that’s a lot of information to dig up.
Fortunately, in NetBase, you can capture lots of historical data pretty immediately around a person or topic. Pulling from publicly available structured and unstructured data available on social channels, domains, blogs, forums, news and review sites, your brand can learn lots about this person pretty quickly.
You’ll still have smaller, isolated fires burning, but short of the main fire fueling it, they’ll die out soon enough. That is, they’ll die out as long as you don’t start blowing on them. We’ll get to that some more in metric #6.
Metric #3: Trending Conversation
How is the conversation trending?
- How much of your brand conversation is related to the issue?
- Are people significantly more negative towards the crisis or is it mixed?
- Is the sentiment being expressed towards your brand or some other element of the crisis?
- How strongly are people expressing that emotion?
This can change rapidly, so having alerts set around conversation volume will be important. As you’re busy crafting a response, and decide when/whether you should respond at all, you’ll need to know how the conversation is shifting (if it is). As you’ll potentially need to change your approach to it as well.
So, be sure to check out the Trending widget to identify emerging terms related to the issue.
Metric #4: Top Hashtags
Part of understanding the conversation entails tracking top hashtags being shared in relation to the concern. What are people calling it – hopefully not something catchy that will stick with your brand!
It’s good to know this (even when you’d rather ignore it) so you don’t mistakenly use anything close to it in promotions or anything in the future. Unlikely? We guess McD’s would like this hashtag back:
Use the Word Cloud widget to identify and stay on top of the most popular terms and hashtags:
Metric #5: Who Is Talking
Who has taken up the charge here? You may have thousands of upset consumers or a rowdy influencer leading the group into battle, as a brief stopover on his/her ego trip. Some influencers are professional rabble rousers and it’s good to know this as well.
And some are hellbent on destroying your brand for whatever reason. There’s even a name for it – called “cancel culture.” And yes, all brands should be on high alert to not run afoul in a way that makes them a target. That (typically) means not taking any political or other controversial stands, though many brands have done the exact opposite and thrived.
Hopefully you’ve created a running list of who your known detractors are, and are monitoring them as part of your regular social listening duties. Doing so can be a huge PR preventative.
Understanding who is rallying the troops – whether a known detractor, cancel culture warrior or influencer bee in his/her bonnet – having this intel helps you craft the appropriate response.
And don’t let them get to you, as every brand has detractors to a varying degree.
And what about the other folks talking beyond those leading the charge? Are the everyday folks audience segments you recognize or just random online mob folks swooping in for the kill? And are they grouped by interests, geography? Have you offended a specific segment most of all?
Use the Stream widget to evaluate individual comments, which can crystallize the concerns.
Metric #6: Where They’re Talking
Which channel are they bashing your brand on?
A response (and audience) on Reddit is very different from folks you’ll find on Instagram. And so are any brand ambassadors/influencers that you may be thinking of sending to different sites to advocate for you.
And actually, responding on a channel at all is bad form. Your response should live on your website and be a one-page statement addressing the controversy however you’ve deemed appropriate – and that’s it. Brands should deselect that page for Google crawling it (so it will never rank in search). Shy away from posting apologies (or what have you) on social media as that can – and will – come up again and again.
And, not to panic you, but you need to know if the media is involved or likely will be. If so, it makes sense to get ahead of the story and contact them first. The narrative that’s widely promoted first largely shapes the conversation.
But here’s the thing: your detractors (whether known or new) may already have the jump on you there, but likely do not have next generation AI-powered social analytics open on their desktop right now. Use that intel to your advantage. Expediently.
Metric #7: Competitor Reactions
Competitors will take advantage of your misfortune when given a window. Unfortunately, there’s little you can do about them finding your predicament hilarious and mocking you for it.
You can monitor what they’re saying the same way you monitor any topic. Much like your “known detractors” list, you can have a competitor list to query and analyze accordingly for trending terms around your crisis.
Should you mock competitors or get revenge when possible? Guidance is mixed, but the sum of it is this: it depends. Turnabout is fair play, so keeping track of competitors who kick you while you’re down isn’t the worst idea. Nothing says you have to act on it, but you may be glad you have it at some point.
Some brands do “trash talking” well and others do not have snarky millennials as its main audience and will rub consumers the wrong way with it. So consider your options here carefully.
And you really won’t need to trash talk with your next level sentiment analysis capabilities guiding your efforts. We’ll see to that. Reach out for a demo and we’ll show you how. Or be sure to ask us about it when we see you at NetBase LIVE in October! If you’re not registered, get that done right now!