The Smarty Way: Navigating Social Media Crises with Intelligence, Integrity and Insights

Discover the unique approach taken by Smarty Social using social intelligence, social customer experience, and media intelligence to empower brands in making informed decisions and shaping effective communication strategies during times of global conflict and crisis.

In an increasingly turbulent global landscape, brands are faced with a complex challenge when it comes to making online statements on controversial social and political issues: Speak up, pivot, or stay silent?

Striking the right balance between taking a stance and avoiding alienating potential customers is no easy feat. As world events continue to unfold, consumer preferences regarding brand involvement in social issues are evolving in real time. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore the shifting dynamics of social media crisis management and how marketers can navigate this minefield with the collaborative help of social listening, social customer experience (CX), and media intelligence.

Should Brands Be Posting During Times of Crisis?

A recent Hubspot Blog article noted that in 2021, 54% of American consumers expressed the belief that companies should take a stance on social issues. This marked a clear call for brands to be more socially and politically engaged. However, recent research by Gallup and Bentley University has shown a notable shift in this sentiment. According to this year’s Business in Society Report, only 41% of Americans now believe that brands should take a public stance on social causes.

But when it comes to social media, in times of crisis and conflict, it’s vital for brands to be cautious about their social media presence to avoid appearing insensitive or tone-deaf. Social media is a dynamic landscape where adjacent posts or conversations can create unintended associations. For example, scrolling through a feed with news about a global conflict followed immediately by a promotional post from a consumer-facing brand can lead to negative perceptions and associations.

Here are four questions you should ask yourself when deciding whether or not to post promotional brand content on social media during times of crisis:

1. Is the crisis relevant to our brand identity and values?

Consider whether the crisis or issue aligns with your brand’s core values and identity. Posting about topics that resonate with your brand’s mission and values is more likely to be seen as authentic and genuine.

💡 The Smarty Way: Determining how you tell your brand story on social media is a key component of any digital marketing strategy. We work with our clients to develop content that aligns brand identities and values with the content they publish, ensuring all posts are genuine and authentic, to avoid being misunderstood or misinterpreted within the market. 

2. How are competitors in our category responding?

Investigate how other brands in your industry are addressing the crisis. Understanding the landscape can help you make an informed decision about whether to engage and in what manner.

💡 The Smarty Way: Our intelligence team keeps a close eye on competitive activity using our SaaS platforms and native social media channel monitoring. In addition to monitoring social landscape activity, we also work closely with our Customer Experience (CX) team who has “eyes on the platform” each business day to ensure all owned and earned media activities are covered.

3. How are global corporations responding to this crisis?

Look beyond your specific industry and study how large, global brands handle similar situations. These brands often face more public scrutiny, and their responses can provide valuable insights and best practices.

💡 The Smarty Way: In addition to tracking category brands, an important part of our crisis management strategy is staying apprised of what prominent, global brands are doing. These brands often drive the market and are a good gauge for general social media trends during times of crisis. As with our competitive brand monitoring, we work closely with our CX team to combine our media intelligence insights to help inform the strategies we’re recommending to our clients.

4. Are we relying on data and analytics for decision-making?

Use data, analytics, and media intelligence to inform your decision. Monitor daily mentions, sentiment, and key opinion leaders related to the crisis across digital networks. Data-driven insights can guide your social media strategy during times of crisis.

💡 The Smarty Way: Our clients get the benefit of enterprise listening software and tools to track daily mention volumes, sentiment and key opinion leaders (KOLs) related to a topic across multiple digital networks, which can be invaluable in shaping marketing and communication strategies during crises and can help you make more informed business decisions.

What if We Don’t Have the Resources to Monitor?

Smarty Intel™, our proprietary social intelligence offering, and Smarty CX are a joint effort to help support brands attempting to navigate the complex social landscape during times of crisis and global conflict. We understand what is needed to not only keep a pulse on the social landscape but also to benefit from a talented Customer Experience team who are the ‘eyes and ears’ of all owned client platforms. 

With Smarty Intel™ and Smarty CX, your brand is well-armed and informed in times of crisis with services like:

  • 24/7 crisis monitoring via listening queries and alerts during critical issues such as competitive attacks, lawsuits, audits, HR issues, social/political issues, tragedies such as mass shootings or natural disasters, spokesperson/influencer scandals, etc.
  • Proprietary media intelligence for ongoing social media monitoring and sentiment analysis with daily tagging and collaboration from CX.
  • AM and PM daily updates of all owned client social media channels, ads, and media landscape.
  • Ongoing communication and appropriate escalation plans.
  • Detailed reporting of all noteworthy and/or brand-critical social media activity.

Smarty Social is committed to providing the insights and support that our clients need to make informed decisions and shape effective communication and marketing strategies in a rapidly changing world. By leveraging social intelligence, social CX, and media intelligence, we empower our clients to respond to crises with agility and authenticity, demonstrating the value of our strategic counsel and intelligence services in today’s dynamic social landscape.

For more information on Smarty Social Media, please visit our website: 

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