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Facebook turns to Twitter in its hour of need

What do you do when you can’t post on Facebook or Instagram nor send WhatsApp messages? Tweet, of course.

This week Facebook suffered its longest ever period of downtime

The social media giant blamed a “server configuration change that triggered a cascading series of issues”, which meant some users couldn’t access its platforms for nearly 24 hours.

So, what did Facebook do in its moment of social media crisis? It turned to Twitter.

Partly, out of necessity and partly because while Facebook and Instagram dwarf their silicon valley rival in terms of users (and advertising revenue) Twitter still reigns supreme when it comes to breaking news.

 

There were memes

 

There were jokes

 

But there was also a social media crisis comms plan being put into action.

Clear, concise messages delivered quickly to as wide an audience as possible. Facebook even added to its initial statement to counter the speculation that it was being victim of a DDOS attack – showing that in a moment of crisis listening is just as important as speaking.

Being prepared for a potential crisis and understanding how to manage the situation sensibly could save your brand from irreparable damage.

Key elements of an effective crisis response

Plan for crises

Being prepared for the unexpected is essential when it comes to crisis communication.

Know who is authorised to respond

Crisis management requires clear lines of decision making and accountability. Who can respond on behalf of the business? What are they authorised to say? Can they offer compensation (if relevant)?

Get a squad

Firefighters rarely tackle blazes on their own for a reason. Who can help you get your message out in a time of need? Journalists and bloggers can be sources of authority in crises  – but those relationships need to be built well in advance.

"When we’ve needed crisis communications support, Cartwright has halted negative stories in their tracks as well as minimised any reputation damage if a negative story does hit the press. We really value their advice in a media crisis. "

Kathryn Shaw, marketing and digital media officer

Derwent Living

Crisis Communication

Being prepared for potentially uncomfortable or difficult media enquiries is an essential part of protecting your brand in a crisis.

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By James Dixon

James has over 10 years' digital communications experience, he has worked for major brands like Sky and Unilever as well as NGOs like Drinkaware & Sightsavers. His expertise is digital strategy, content marketing and social media for business.

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