I talk often about your targeted FAQ and it’s importance within a social media crisis, so I thought I would take the time today to detail everything required within your strategic FAQ and to give you a little homework in order to advance and strengthen your social media crisis plan!
Are you ready? Let’s go!
Why an FAQ is so crucially important within your social media crisis plan
In a crisis, people have questions. And when I say people I mean your customers, your fans, your followers, your advocates, the media, bloggers and everyone else! They all have questions regarding both your organization and the crisis, and it’s extremely important that YOU be the one to provide them with honest answers to these questions. It plays a major role within your mission to regain control of the situation.
When should you release your FAQ?
Your detailed and targeted FAQ goes hand in hand with your official response. It should be published once all facts about the crisis have been fully assessed and understood by your organization, and once you’ve set in motion the actions for which you will respond to, resolve and correct the situation. I can’t stress enough how important it is within your social media crisis plan.
What to include within your FAQ
Basically, it’s important that your FAQ include as much detail about both the current crisis and the history of your organization. Remember that customers, fans and the media will be looking to it for answers, and it’s your job to predict their questions before they even ask them – plus getting it right the first time will save you loads of time in an already stressful and time consuming situation.
Within your social media crisis FAQ you should:
- Acknowledge and confront the situation head-on
- Detail all events that occurred (including time and location)
- Include photos and videos (of the crisis as well as your brand logos, image guidelines, etc)
- Describe how your organization discovered the issue
- Who was first alerted to the issue and how
- Elaborate on the actions being taken to resolve the problem
- Include future actions that may need to occur
- Disclose real or potential effects on customers
- Include the steps being taken to prevent the situation from happening again
- Include links to your official response and other related content that your organization has published regarding the crisis
- Be empathetic, sincere and compassionate towards those affected by the crisis
- Include contact information for all appropriate stakeholders
- Any additional questions that may be arising
How to optimize your FAQ for maximum viewing and reach
First and foremost, the best place to publish your FAQ is on your organization’s already existing blog. Seeing as this is one of the first places people will turn to for information regarding the crisis, it only makes sense.
Side tip: Enable comments on your FAQ to encourage a two-way conversation that will allow you to continue to build the relationship you share with your audience.
Secondly, optimize the title of your FAQ to be found by those looking for your organization’s response, as well as those who might be looking for the offending content that started the crisis in the first place. A great trick to accomplishing this is to make sure you include both the name of the crisis (or offending content) and your organization’s name within the title.
A couple examples you may feel free to use:
- “Name of crisis” – “Brand name’s” FAQ
- “Brand name” answers to “Name of crisis”
Last but not least, make sure that you leave your FAQ published, wherever you decide to publish it, for the long-term. The crisis will end, but that doesn’t mean that people won’t continue to search for information on it once it’s over. Make sure that they always find your brand’s response to the crisis for as long as they may be searching. (As an example, the Domino’s Pizza crisis that took place back in 2009 still gets an average of over 300 global searches per month, 3 years later.)
Prepare your organization in advance
A social media crisis is a stressful time for everyone. Do yourself a favor and prepare the basics of your FAQ as part of your crisis plan. Obviously you can’t include the details of a crisis that has not yet happened, but you can include all the necessary details of your organization that will be included within your FAQ, the strategies of where you will publish it, it’s title strategy and an outline of important details to include and potential crisis-related questions to address and answer.
Your social media crisis FAQ plays a major role within your social media crisis plan. It’s not something you want to forget, and it is most definitely in your best interest to have a template and FAQ strategy prepared before a crisis strikes.
What are you waiting for?!
My homework to you is to take 15 minutes at some point today and do a quick outline of what your social media crisis FAQ strategy will be. Then come back here and let me know how it went and if you have any questions.
I have faith in you! Take this small action today and begin to protect and prepare your brand for a social media crisis!
Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, Melissa Agnes is a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection. Agnes is a coveted keynote speaker, commentator, and advisor to some of today’s leading organizations faced with the greatest risks. Learn more about Melissa and her work here.