At What Point Can You Declare a Social Media Crisis as Being “Over”?

declare-social-media-issue-as-overOnce a social media crisis presents itself, or has the potential of presenting itself, hopefully you’ll be made aware of its presence within minimal time (this requires an active monitoring system), and will have undergone some form of preparation and training in order to know if, when and how to respond and react properly. From there, you’ll continue to monitor the online situation, responding and reacting accordingly until it dissipates and becomes a thing of the past, another lesson to learn and grow from. But how can you be sure of the appropriate time to declare the crisis as officially being “over”, and go back to business as usual?

Now, of course every situation is different, but a good rule of thumb to use as as base is to:

  • Wait for the negative online conversations around the issue to have ceased for a period of 72 hours or more
  • Make sure that a big change in sentiment towards your brand and/or the issue has taken place, the change being from negative to neutral, or better yet to positive
  • Be certain that there is little to no chance that the crisis or issue will swiftly pick itself back up and/or go viral

If all three of the above criteria have been met, then chances are you can go ahead and declare the crisis as being “over”. However, just because the crisis is over, doesn’t mean your crisis team doesn’t still have work cut out for them. Once an online or social media crisis has come to an end, it’s time to document the events that took place in chronological order, evaluate your entire team’s performance throughout the crisis, adapt and strengthen your social media crisis plan and go through another round of training.

Melissa Agnes is an international crisis management keynote speaker and consultant. President of the crisis management firm Agnes + Day, Melissa has developed a worldwide reputation for crisis management, planning and training by helping global brands and government agencies prevent and manage a wide range of issues and crises. She is also the editor of The Crisis Intelligence Blog and host of The Crisis Intelligence Podcast.

2 Comments. Leave new

Sometimes when the crisis is declared "over" the matter of concern remans live as an "issue". Organizations need to understand that when the crisis management is stood down, there is often a need for a formal hand-off to an issue management team, who operate at a different level. This transition can be very tricky and can easily open up a management gap where various groups within the organization think someone else has taken responsibkty for the issue, but in reality it has fallen into the gap.. The migration from issue to crisis is reasonably well understood, but the post-crisis phase is littered with bear-traps.

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Melissa Agnes
April 28, 2013 1:20 pm

Excellent point to address, Tony! Would make for another great guest post if you're interested… ;)

You're correct. Many, many organizations often forget to plan for the post-crisis part of the crisis. Declaring it over, documenting, analyzing, attending to the aftermath and learning from the entire experience are all important steps within the overall crisis management that cannot be forgotten.

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