But I had a zombie plan…..

A savings plan for the future… check

A holiday plan for the summer…check

A zombie plan in case of a world wide apocalypse … check , check.

A social media crisis response plan for being wrongly accused of inappropriate behaviour ……. huh?

A recent incident saw a man wrongly accused of taking inappropriate pictures of a woman’s children, when in fact he was simply posing for a selfie. Whilst this befell an unfortunate individual and not an organisation, it nevertheless serves as an example for companies to heed,  highlighting the importance of social media monitoring and swiftly responding to claims made regarding your organisations image/brand. Failure to do so can have devastating consequences.

This blog bookends the prior discussions of web 2.0 and user generated content, whereby the first entry discussed the positive outcomes from synergy between the brand and audience, the second examined various platforms available to facilitate this collaboration; whilst this final entry focuses on responding to negative user content through the implementation of a response/crisis plan, encompassing monitoring and responding norms.591716_73639314

Organisation should ensure they have a crisis plan that can respond quickly to emerging negative situations. To prevent a decline in audience trust and brand value.

Uber is an organisation which learnt this lesson the hard way. During the Sydney Lindt Café Siege fares skyrocketed due to people fleeing the scene, social media was a buzz with outrage at the organisation for capitalising on a horrendous situation. Uber took almost a week to issue a compensation response, however at this point a significant loss of goodwill had already occurred. If uber had of maintained a social media crisis response plan undoubtable this good have been prevented.

However across various industries organisations are implementing social media response guidelines, thus becoming efficient and empathetic to their audience’s feelings. These organisations are providing timely and valid explanations in the hope of turning negative comments into positive outcomes.

For example, Heathrow Airport acted swiftly on social media, providing an empathic and valid response, diffusing a tweet sent by an upset celebrity mother, who was denied breast milk through customs.1419194_47827697

Service industry providers such as hotels and tours have been utilising social media platforms such as Trip Advisor to effectively responding to customer comments in a public forum. These industries understand the importance of responding to both negative and positive comments provided by your audience.

Organisation should embrace monitoring programs such as Hootsuite, to listen and learn about what there audience is saying.

Furthermore, having a social media crisis plan and accessible social media guidelines for handling negative and positive audience comments are essential to sustain a two way conversation; a key element in participating in todays web 2.0 environment. As stated by Grunig When issues or potential issues are discussed and negotiated with publics, the result is improved relationships with publics(p.12).”


Planning and preparation will not only ensure survival during a zombie apocalypse but will assist you and your organisations ability to survive and thrive in the ever-evolving online public relations environment.


Grunig, J. E. (2009). Paradigms of global public relations in an age of digitalisation. PRism 6(2): http://praxis.massey.ac.nz/prism_on-line_journ.html





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