Don’t Panic!

When to act, and when to do nothing?

Community and social media managers deal with this conundrum on a regular basis. When managing a social media presence, what constitutes “action-worthy” audience behavior, and when should you just stand by?

The chart below was inspired by Charlene Li’s “social media triage” as blogged here by Andrew Careaga. The idea is to use the chart as a way to determine the “threat level” – from low to high – and assess the amount of action required to manage it.

Social Media Threat Level Graphic

Most of the issues we deal with on a regular basis fall into the “low” category: combative comments, unofficial groups, spam, etc. These require little to no action to manage, other than consistent monitoring. In fact, reacting too quickly or being defensive could do more harm than good.

“Medium” level issues not only need more attention, but also may require the involvement and input of higher levels of management and other members of your team, including alumni volunteers and other campus departments.

Finally, “high” issues require coordinated action and involve the highest levels of management. While situations that fall into the “high” category are relatively rare, it pays to have a strategy in place for managing these types of situations, similar to a crisis communications plan. Be sure to include strategies for coordinating efforts across campus departments. Also think about how and when to involve Provosts, Vice Presidents, and general counsel. These high-level administrators should know about the situation, and your strategy for managing it.

This chart is meant to help guide your thinking about social media issues, and does not cover every single situation that might come across your desk. It should, however, help you prepare for what lies ahead.

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3 Responses to Don’t Panic!

  1. Krista says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Liz! I am just starting to put together a social media strategy for our alumni association, and of course, a common concern with our alumni board is what to do with negative or crisis communications. This will come in handy as I put together a standard response plan for when such situations arise, and I hope it will put their minds at ease that social media is still a worthy platform to connect with our alumni.

  2. Elizabeth Allen says:

    Thanks Krista. Glad to hear I could be of help!

  3. Paula3562 says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Liz! I am just starting to put together a social media strategy for our alumni association, and of course, a common concern with our alumni board is what to do with negative or crisis communications. This will come in handy as I put together a standard response plan for when such situations arise, and I hope it will put their minds at ease that social media is still a worthy platform to connect with our alumni.
    +1

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