When Tweet Went Wrong

No matter how savvy and experienced your social media team is,  mishaps can happen in the world of social media.  Most of the time, mistakes are harmless, such as typo errors or misspelling of a  name.  It will not be elevated to become a crisis if your followers are sympathetic and when the mistakes are forgivable. Sometimes if they make a mockery of the incident, the tweet might even go viral and generates some branding opportunities (however, exercise with great cautious).

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On the other hand, if brands offended their followers or customers which triggers a massive social outrage due to lack of sensitivity and bad practices, then be prepared to face a crisis. For example,  when New England Patriots became the first NFL team to reach 1 million Twitter followers, they set up an automated thank you message to its fans with an image of the fans’ Twitter account names emblazon on the back of a Patriot’s jersey. Unfortunately, with no monitoring a thank you message was tweeted to a racist Twitter handle.

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Inappropriate usage of content could also put a brand in a spotlight. In March 2013, London Luton Airport posted a message related to airport safety on their official Facebook page. The post which included a photo went out at 9.15am on Wednesday morning after most parts of Britain was hit with severe snow storm. The message was intended to  demonstrate the efficiency of London Luton Airport in clearing the snow on its runways. However, the Facebook message didn’t make anyone laugh because the photo that was used came from a 2005 aviation accident in which the aircraft  slid off the runway and killed a 6-year-old boy on board.

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Not so funny, indeed.

Whatever reasons have caused such incidents – lack of sensitivity and attention to details, bad communication skills, or in some cases external factors that are beyond control (eg system hacked) – one common consequence is public responded fast the incident goes viral in no time. So how you handle this?

Based on my observations from brands that have handled social media crisis appropriately, these are some of the steps that can be taken:

1.Localize the crisis

First step is localize the crisis. If it happened on a particular social media platform, eg Twitter, response and handle it via tweets. If it spreads to other channels, then  reach out to your Facebook, Google+, Instagram or other.

2.Admit mistakes 

Digital footprint is not easily removed and thus deletion of troubled and nasty posts is a futile attempt. Unless you have strong evident to indicate the social  account was hacked, do not pass the blame to other parties.

3.Apologized to customers openly and sincerely

An apology is often not enough when loyal followers or customers are in concerned. If apologies could not pacify them, accommodate their short-term needs to vent frustration and post their comments on social media.

4.Follow up with a press release

An official announcement is needed when more facts are gathered, and it also allows the provision of  contact details of key company representatives, such as the CEO, Company’s Spokesperson, Legal or Public Relation personnel. State only key facts and avoid any defensive statements.

5.Anticipate subsequent waves of crisis

Monitor the consumer and public voice in the social media related to the crisis closely. With an effective monitoring tool, brands can be alerted of a potential crisis that is coming their way. Download ebook: Crisis Communications Planning in the Social Media Age to get yourself more prepared.

Two panel discussions with the topic Crisis Communications in the Digital Age  were hosted recently in Hong Kong and Singapore. The archived video for the Hong Kong event is now available upon registration.  To receive alerts on the archived video of the Singapore events when they are ready, please subscribe to our newsletter.

Author:  Afif Maulana is the Audience Development Executive of PR Newswire based in Indonesia. 

Top 3 Things to Resolve Before a Crisis Strikes


Last week, the second media coffee event in 2016 was hosted in Hong Kong with a topic “Crisis Communications in the Digital Age“.  The event was physically attended and viewed via live streaming by over 100 corporate communicators and PR professionals.  Three veteran speakers from the media and public relations industry provided their views, insights and personal experience when dealing with crisis.  The event was recorded and before it becomes available for viewing, the following blog provides a good overview of the fundamental steps that are required to kick start your planning before a crisis strikes.  To get alerts on the archived video when it is ready, please subscribe to our newsletter.

Are you ready for youe brand's next crisis?

Are you ready for your brand’s next crisis?

Accidents and mistakes are part of being human. You cannot get through life without tripping and skimming your knee at least once, and you will disappoint someone at some point by forgetting something.

Equally, a business cannot exist that does not face crises now and then.

Mistakes, misunderstandings, accidents, product failures, and employee misconduct are all risks that businesses face regularly. Although they’re nearly impossible to avoid, they can be managed.

If your business is well prepared and vigilant, you can foresee potential risks and prevent many of them from escalating into major crises. If managed especially well, few outside your crisis response team will even know something happened.

A carefully compiled crisis communications guide can literally save your business when the inevitable occurs.

The key to remember is that there’s no universal crisis handbook you can order and put on your shelf.

Every business is different and what needs to be in your response plan will require careful research, documentation, and frequent revision. It must also be flexible and evolve with your business.

Here are three steps to take right now that will kick-start your planning before a crisis strikes.

List Your Vulnerabilities

The only way to be prepared for a crisis, or perhaps avoid one altogether, is to have an understanding of the types of crises you might face.

This list will be unique for every business.

For example, if your business requires employees to use dangerous machinery or chemicals, your risks will differ from those of a business dealing with online sales.

Some general risks to start with include: systems outages (order processing or email), product failure, human error, dissatisfied customer reviews or social posts, employee misconduct, lawsuits, and communications faux pas.

Furthermore, look at any crises you dealt with in the past. While you may have permanently resolved some of them, there are others that will likely pop up again.

After making your initial list, group vulnerabilities into types such as Personnel, Customer, Legal, Financial, etc. Ensure the list is as thorough as possible by collaborating with key parties in your business who have other perspectives to add.

Chart Your Critical Contacts

When a crisis hits, you need to immediately get the word out to the right people across your organization. That means knowing – in advance – whom to inform.

Create a chart listing the key contacts in the event of a crisis. Start at the top of your company and then categorize people into escalation groups.

List those who should always be informed immediately, such as your head of communications (perhaps that’s you). Then, categorize other essential people who may need to be involved on a situational basis, like your legal team, senior executives, heads of information security and IT, sales leaders, etc.

Although your list of contacts must be thorough, you should be judicious when involving people during the actual crisis. You want to take as few people as possible away from their daily work. Plan well, but carefully select the response team based on needs.

Audit Your Communications Channels

With certain crises, you will need to halt your usual daily chatter on social media or post an update on your website’s homepage. It’s important to know how to make that happen quickly.

Most companies have multiple — if not dozens or even hundreds of — social media accounts, websites, customer lists, vendor lists, partner lists, media lists, and other public-facing communications channels.

You’ll want to work with the people you normally trust on these channels to respond to questions and post information. Don’t replace them with a senior spokesperson who is unfamiliar with the nuances of your channels and their audiences.

Compile a list of all of your current communications channels, as well as the key contacts for those channels. You don’t need to hold all the passwords (those change), but you do need to know whom to contact.

If you’ve prepared ahead of time, everyone will know exactly what procedures to follow and you won’t find yourself scrambling at the last minute. Don’t forget, though:

Every crisis communications plan needs a backup plan.

If you have one person in your business who manages all your social channels and holds the passwords, ensure they have a well-informed backup who can handle situations when they’re camping with no cell reception in the Smokey Mountains.

Bonus Tip: Regularly Revisit the Plan

Information gets outdated very quickly. Set a schedule to re-audit your vulnerabilities, key contacts, and communications channels frequently.

This can be time-consuming and difficult to stay on top of so be sure to share the burden.

Everyone who manages a responsibility or channel should be responsible for keeping others up to date on access information and personnel changes.

Also, remember that there is no better time to update your crisis guide than right after each crisis. As communicators, we learn something from every incident that will make the process of managing a crisis easier ‘next time.’

These three things are a great place to start with your crisis communications plan, but don’t stop there! Keep the momentum going and build it out. It may not happen all at once. In fact, it should grow and evolve as your business ages and you learn from future crises.

Author: Victoria Harres was previously the vice president, strategic communications and content at PR Newswire. 

MEDIA NEWS: Asia Media Moves for September 2016

PR Newswire’s Media Research Department makes thousands of updates to the database of journalists and bloggers that underpins our media targeting and distribution platform. Below is a sampling of recent media moves and news across Asia-Pacific from the research team.



Forbes Indonesia

Ms.Ulisari Eslita joined as Journalist

Mr.Rio Zikrizal joined as Events &Communications Executive

Ms.Indri Kristina joined as Editorial Secretary



Majalah Gila Kereta

Mr.Fazzlee Mokhtar replaced Mr. Saiful Lizam Mohd Roshi as Editor




Mashable Asia

Ms. Alicia Tan left as Deputy Editor




To see the rest of the recent media moves and news across Asia-Pacific click here






Compiled by Charmaine Chow, Media Research Manager at PR Newswire.  For more media related news, follow us at @PRNA4media

MEDIA NEWS: Asia Media Moves for August 2016

PR Newswire’s Media Research Department makes thousands of updates to the database of journalists and bloggers that underpins our media targeting and distribution platform. Below is a sampling of recent media moves and news across Asia-Pacific from the research team.


Hong Kong

Baccarat Magazine

Karen Ting has left as Editor-in-Chief

Venus Chan’s title has changed from Editorial Coordinator to Administration Manager




Mr.Aditia Maruli Radja joined as Chief Editor



Chip Malaysia

Mr.Sharil Abdul Rahman left as Editor

Mr.Mathew Yap joined as Reporter

Mr.Nixon Ng joined as Reporter



Human Resources – Singapore

Ms. Akankasha Dewan left as Senior Journalist


To see the rest of the recent media moves and news across Asia-Pacific click here

Compiled by Charmaine Chow, Media Research Manager at PR Newswire.  For more media related news, follow us at @PRNA4media

3 Facts About Thailand’s Media Landscape Every Marketer Should Know


Together with InfoQuest, PR Newswire has recently published a whitepaper on Thailand’s media landscape.  To help companies propel their businesses forward and gain more visibility in Amazing Thailand, here are some bite-sized chunks of information on the media consumption habits among the friendly Thais.

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