Social Media Crisis Management: Strategies for Handling Online Backlash

Social Media Crisis Management: Strategies for Handling Online Backlash

Social media offers businesses today so many opportunities and possibilities. It can be used to sell products, advertise new services, connect with customers, and even check out the competition. Social media is no longer optional, it’s a must for all businesses in today’s world.

However, that’s not to say social media isn’t without its downsides. Crises can happen in the blink of an eye and can often snowball into something beyond anybody’s control. While B2C social strategies most often see crises occurring, they can just as easily happen during B2B social media activity. Knowing what kind of crises can occur and how to handle them is vital for all digital businesses. Find out more below.

What is a Social Media Crisis?

To put it simply, a social media crisis is an event that could cause your business serious damage, be that financially, reputationally, legally, or all three at once.

Social media changed the way in which businesses connect with customers and market products. In the past, ad campaigns would be launched after months of planning and design. That still happens today, but much marketing is conducted through short, disposable social media posts that can be created on-the-fly and with minimal financial or resource expenditure.

However, this does mean mistakes can occur more often, and the majority of the social media crises we see are the result of a mistake of faux pas committed by a brand. There have been several such instances over the years, some more shocking than others.

So, now that we know what a social media crisis is, how can you avoid them? And how can you manage if one does occur? Find out below.

Create a Social Media Policy

One of the most important things you can do as a business today is to create a social media policy. This is a set of rules that all employees must follow, it sets out the standards and expectations required for all company-related social posts. Social media policies should stipulate a zero-tolerance attitude towards content of an offensive nature, such as anything that could be construed as racist, misogynistic, homophobic, or transphobic.

Delete and Apologise

If something slips through the net and a social media crisis begins to unfold, the first thing you need to do is to immediately delete the offending material and then issue an apology. While the damage may have already been done, a prompt and sincere apology will demonstrate that you know you are in the wrong and will help as you attempt to rebuild your brand’s reputation.

Reach Out to Those Affected

Another effective way of dealing with a social media crisis is to reach out to those affected. You can offer a personal apology or even remuneration in the form of discounts or offers, if appropriate. However, this should be handled with the utmost tact and care to avoid making things worse.


A social media crisis is never good. However, with the correct preparation, you can avoid them happening, and by having processes and systems in place you can manage them if they do.


Shankar is a tech blogger who occasionally enjoys penning historical fiction. With over a thousand articles written on tech, business, finance, marketing, mobile, social media, cloud storage, software, and general topics, he has been creating material for the past eight years.