4 Simple Tips For Handling A Community Management Crisis

September 7, 2020

Social media is the quickest and easiest way for brands to reach out to their customers, and for customers to get in touch with their favourite brands and businesses. But what happens when things go wrong?

We’ve seen how quickly thoughts and feelings of customers can change, and it’s important to know the best ways to help manage the situation when it does. In this blog post, we’ve put together some handy tips to help manage when things get a bit topsy-turvy. This list is definitely not exhaustive, and while it may work in some circumstances, unfortunately, it’s not a cool visor that you picked up from your trip to Movieworld; it’s not one size fits all. This list is here to help you develop your own guidelines and practices for when things don’t go so well and hopefully will come in handy when the going gets tough.

Take a breath

Okay, so this one might not be the tip that you would expect to be up top, but nonetheless, it’s a super helpful one to take note of. Think of the situation this way: You’ve logged on to your Facebook or Instagram account in the morning, and you notice that you have a lot of messages. And I’m talking a LOT of messages. They’re all on a similar topic. Something has happened overnight and some members of your audience seem pretty upset. This can feel very overwhelming, and there’s nothing worse than trying to respond to a bunch of messages when you feel overwhelmed. So, take a few seconds to breathe. Trust me, you will feel much better about it.

Be honest and respond accordingly

Most of the time when things go wrong, people look for answers. Say for example there’s been an instance where deliveries from your business have been reaching customers with items missing. Not great. Dale has gotten in touch via Private Message to let you know that something is missing from his last order. Now, you might not have all the information that’s needed to help Dale out right away, but we don’t want Dale to think that we’ve forgotten about him. In this case, the best thing to do would be to let Dale know that we are going to look into this for him and have an update for him as soon as possible. This lets Dale know that we’re on the case and that we do care that his order is fulfilled correctly.

On the same day, Sophie has commented on our most recent post that something similar has happened. And Jeremy has also commented on the same thread with the same problem. Christina has posted on our Wall with the same issue. The key thing to take note of here is that the same care that we showed Dale earlier, we need to show to Sophie, Jeremy and Christina. Unfortunately, there’s no catch-all response that we can give to everyone, but we can use the bones of the response to Dale to help us. Keep it personal, reassure them that we will investigate and that we’ll get back to them with an update.

And then, the most important part of this process: Make sure you get back to them when you have an update.

Muting words will help buy you time

Facebook and Instagram have some really neat functions that will help buy some time to think when faced with a crisis.

Head to your page’s settings menu, and click on the Page Moderation tab.

It will open up to look like the below:

In here, you can enter some keywords. That way, when a comment comes through to the page, it will automatically hide the comment so that you can have some time to respond while not being overwhelmed. Unfortunately, this tool isn’t 100% perfect, so some comments might still come through, but it’s better than facing the full deluge at the one time.

Plan for the worst

You may have heard the phrase, ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,’ and this rings true in this case. The most effective way to deal with a bad situation is to make a plan for what to do when a bad situation happens. Having a clear set of guidelines and practices to follow makes it that much easier when faced with difficult situations. Even something as easy and simple as an FAQ document for your brand will be such a big help (and not only when things go bad either!).

While we’re talking about FAQ documents, you might like to check out one of our previous blogs here about Tone of Voice. It might help you with how to frame your brand’s tone of voice and keep it consistent.

So there we go. 4 handy hints to help you when things go wrong. There are plenty of other tactics that you can use when faced with a bad situation, but hopefully this is a good place to start. If you think you might like some help with coming up with a plan, reach out to us at [email protected] and we’ll see how we can best help!


Ben is a Community Manager at Milkbar Digital. With a passion and flair for customer service, he loves helping customers with any and all queries. With a background in both radio and professional wrestling, Ben knows how to create a meaningful connection with an audience.

Looking for a hand with your community management? Milkbar Digital is here to help! You can contact us on [email protected] for all your enquiries.

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