Note from the editor: This is the second part of a two-part series on helping the victims of another company’s social media crisis by providing them with a solution. The first part of this series talks about Bob Taylor, of Taylor Guitars, and how he increased his sales revenue by 25% after helping the victims of the United Airlines social media crisis back in 2008. To read the first part of this series click here.

It’s one thing to be able to overcome a social media crisis. This takes a pre-planned strategy, excellent internal communication and the right social media and crisis mindset. But what about when another company in faced with a social media crisis? What can you do to help the victims of such a crisis by providing them with a solution to their current problem? Then there’s the question of what if it goes wrong? Can doing this launch your own brand into it’s own social media crisis, and if so, is it worth the risk?

In a way, this can be resembled as leveraging another company’s social media crisis to your own brand’s advantage and in order to avoid this misconception, you will need to focus purely on helping the victims of said crisis. However, if you do this correctly, you may see some strategic advantages for your own brand – Taylor Guitars saw a 25% increase in sales from one year to the next after successfully doing so – but in order to do it correctly, there are some specific rules and guidelines that you must abide by.

Follow these guidelines when aiming to help the victims of another social media crisis

Always have your finger on the pulse
Set up your social media monitoring posts and enable yourself to always be aware of what’s going on with your competitors, and your industry as a whole. Crises happen in real time and if you’re going to take advantage of this rare opportunity, there’s only a small window of opportunity to do so.

Bob Taylor, of Taylor Guitars, learned about the United Airlines crisis within 24 hours and had his video response uploaded to YouTube that very same day. Had he not been aware of what was going on within his industry, he would have missed this unique opportunity all together.

React in real-time
Wait and you’ll lose your chance. As soon as you learn about the crisis and have brainstormed a way to help the victims of the crisis, react and put that plan into action asap.

Be creative
In order for you to respond to the crisis, you’re going to need to be creative. Find a way to appeal to the victims of the crisis and solve whatever problem the crisis presented to them.

Be compassionate and sincere
You’ll need to show that your biggest concern is helping the victims of the crisis solve their problem. Bob Taylor chose to release a video that helped musicians travel safely with their musical instruments. This fell directly in-line with the United Airlines crisis, and gave helpful solutions to a problem that many musicians face regularly.

Optimize your response to the crisis
It’s not going to do you any good if nobody sees or hears your attempt at providing the victims with a solution to their crisis-related problem. The best way to optimize your response is to follow these two simple steps:

  1. Respond to the crisis on the same channel that it broke out on. Bob Taylor released a video response to the the United crisis, because the crisis itself broke out when Dave Carroll released the music video, United Breaks Guitars, to youtube.
  2. Title your response the same title as the crisis and add “Your Brand Responds” to it. This ensures that your response is found along side the crisis that your target audience is currently searching for. For example, Bob Taylor titled his video response Taylor Guitars Responds to ‘United Breaks Guitars’.

VERY IMPORTANT: Always take a positive approach
A positive approach leads to a positive reaction and positive results. Keep your focus on the solution you’re providing to the victims of the crisis. This way your sincerity shines through and you don’t anger anyone, which can potentially launch you into your own social media crisis. In order to stay on track with your positive approach, follow these guidelines:

  • Do not mention, criticize or attack the company or brand responsible for the crisis
  • Identify the problem the crisis has caused and present a solution to your target audience
  • Show compassion, sincerity and the want to help

A social media crisis is fast-paced and happens in real-time. Equipping yourself and your staff with the right mindset and tools to be able to detect and respond to a crisis – whether your own or someone else’s – will prove to be extremely beneficial for your brand.

Have you ever been presented with the opportunity to help the victims of another company’s social media crisis, and if so, what was your strategy and how did it work out for you? Share your experiences with me below!