4 Tips to Managing a Chamber Social Media Crisis

While we all have our share of complainers in our areas, most chambers probably aren’t in the path of a social media storm. We tend to get complacent in thinking that only happens to big brands.What do you do in a chamber social media crisis?

Today I did a search on Twitter and found the following potential situations:

  • An individual lambasting a state chamber for their support of businesses that “pay poverty wages.”  It was retweeted 24 times, according to Twitter; and…
  • A watchdog group publishing the amount of money the chamber spent on ads in the first week of May and who they were supporting.

While these two situations hardly seem like a reason to think about a social media crisis, we shouldn’t write off the potential of a disgruntled community member maligning the chamber’s hard work.

How to Handle a Chamber Social Media/PR Crisis

There are several musts when handling a derogatory comment about the chamber:

Handle it quickly

While you don’t want to fire off a knee jerk response, you also don’t want to sit on an answer. We saw Shutterfly apologize for sending out a mass email marketing piece congratulating people on their new babies. Their apology email was nice but came 24 hours after they were lambasted all over social media for the mistaken send. Why wait to draft and send a simple oops apology? The community doesn’t care who’s at fault so get it written and sent (or posted) as quickly as possible.

Handle it partially in public

If the person commented on your wall, write on your wall that you will contact them directly and ask for the best way to do so. This makes them feel better that the matter is being looked into and allows others to see you are handling it.

Handle it without the use of the delete button

I know I’ll get some flack on this one but nothing causes a fire to burn faster than adding some gasoline and if you remove a comment without warning, you are using a massive accelerant.

Yes, there are times when trolls must be removed but that should be done in accordance with your social media or posting policy, not because you see something you don’t like. If you get a reputation of filtering comments that are contrary to your own beliefs, it will be difficult to rebuild trust.

Handle it as content

If a community member disagrees with your political stance on something, assuming they are a rational human being, why not invite them to contribute a guest blog or op-ed piece on your chamber website or newsletter? You can pen (or record a video on) the official chamber view and he/she can contribute a rebuttal. This provides an educational opportunity for the community and a chance for the opposing side to be publicly recognized and heard. Share it on social media. Your transparency will advance your cause.

Have you experienced a social media crisis at your chamber? How did you handle it? Share it with the Chamber of Commerce Professionals Group on Facebook.


Guest post by Christina Green

Image via Flickr by Luke Addison


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