How Theaters Should Handle a Social Media Crisis

Recently, Southwest Airlines had to cancel almost 2,000 flights because of a massive technology failure, which rendered huge portions of their computer systems inoperable for more than 12 hours, reports Convince & Convert. This, of course, led to some 250,000 angry passengers flooding Southwest’s customer service, social media and operations teams.

Lucky for us, Jay Baer shares some important lessons we can learn for how to handle a social media crisis. Read two of them below, and check out the rest at Convince & Convert.

“Lesson 1: Say You’re Sorry and Mean It

From the very beginning, the Southwest online representatives took complete ownership of the crisis, and apologized (with evident sincerity) to customers at every turn, both in social media and in explanatory content.

SouthwestAirlinesThis may seem self-evident and trivial, but it’s not. Many companies forbid their social media customer care teams from apologizing for anything in a public forum, believing it opens the company to legal liability down the line. There is no factual basis for this, as I uncovered in my book, Hug Your Haters. Yet, it’s not at all uncommon for companies to dance around the issue, even when they are clearly in the wrong, and refuse to apologize.

Not in this case.

Lesson 2: Live Video is a Terrific Social Media Crisis Tool

In any customer service scenario, humanity is key. It is much harder to be mad at a person – any person – than it is to be made at a company or brand.

Southwest took an innovative and effective approach to humanization through the use of Facebook Live video to keep customers informed and to underscore apologies.

The star of these videos was Brooks Thomas …

But it wasn’t just Brooks (who pulled all-nighters with his team trying to keep up with customer complaints) on Facebook Live. In the example above, the company’s Chief Operating Officer explained the current status, adding significant credibility to the video.

The videos worked, at least as measured by emoji sentiment. The live broadcast above was watched 803,000 times (Wow!); was liked more than 5,500 times; was loved more than 1,100 times; and solicited a comparatively paltry 650 angry emojis.

This may go down in the social media text books as the first big-scale use of live video in a social media crisis. We will see more – a lot more – of this in the future.”

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