Imagine this scenario: you’re a social media manager for a thriving software-as-a-service company. Your day starts normally, but by the time you get to work, you’ve heard the bad news: the network is down. None of your customers can access your servers, and nobody knows when everything will be back online. On top of all that, you’ve arrived just in time to watch your social media mentions and inbox go into full nuclear meltdown mode in real-time.
You’ve deftly handled some minor social media panics before, but what are you going to do with this one?
Social media templates can be your best friend in a crisis and a helpful, time-saving tool on better days. In this post, we’ll go over why and how to use social media response templates. We’ve also provided a free download that includes templates for various scenarios, including disaster response, to get you started.
What is a Social Media Response Template?
Even on a good day, social media is chaotic. The best part about it — the fact that it can instantly connect you with millions of people all over the world — is also the thing that makes it such a beast to deal with. This is especially true when something bad is going down, and your company is in the middle of it.
A social media response template is a framework that provides directions and pre-written copy for responding to various comments, inquiries, and situations. It allows you to respond effectively and quickly to your customers and followers no matter the circumstances.
Let’s say somebody effusively compliments your product on Twitter. That’s not a crisis, but it can still be helpful to follow a template when responding. A “complimentary comment” response template might tell you to screenshot the tweet for posterity, click the “like” button, and respond by thanking the customer.
How to Use the Template
Our Social Media Response Template includes two sections: one for dealing with positive, neutral, and negative comments or inquiries that don’t meet the “disaster” criteria; and another for crafting a template to use when unexpected disasters occur.
It’s essential to have an overall plan for dealing with social media disasters. The template can’t decide for you whether to apologize or defend yourself, how much information to disclose about technical issues, or otherwise determine your best course of action. It can only help you consistently and efficiently communicate the messaging you’ve decided to go with. Once you’ve got a plan, you can use the template to execute it.
To use the main response template:
Fill out each row with information about every type of social media comment you receive
Assign an Urgency Level from 1 to 3 to each comment type
Provide directions for what actions need to be taken in response
Fill in the copy for the message you will post in response
To use the disaster response template:
Enter the date and description of the disaster
Provide a Call to Action for people impacted by the disaster
Include links, hashtags, and other critical information
Fill in the copy for the message you will send in response to disaster inquiries
More detailed instructions are included with the download.
As beneficial as social media response templates can be, you don’t wait to rely on them for every single interaction. Customers are good at recognizing canned responses, so it’s important to provide a personal message when you can, especially when they’re coming to you with legitimate complaints. You can still use templates to provide a general outline for a more individualized response in these cases.
When disaster strikes and the queries are coming in fast and furious, a good template can be a lifesaver. By using social listening tools to monitor your platforms for conversations about your brand and products, you can get an early warning when trouble might be brewing. Then, you can start filling out a disaster response template that can help you weather the storm. Remember, the business you save with a social media response template will be your own!