The key word in social media is social.

As such, it’s a two-way game. Brands and businesses that use channels such as Twitter and Facebook to simply broadcast their message rarely get the sort of results they would expect. Fans and customers want and demand to be heard, and brands that carefully nurture these relationships benefit from higher engagement levels, boosts in website traffic and sales, strong word of mouth marketing and customer loyalty.

But sometimes, despite our best efforts, things go wrong. So what do you do when the worst happens?

First, have a plan. As they say: expect the best, but prepare for the worst. Pay attention and listen to the conversation. Recognise what a crisis is and how it might start. Acknowledge the situation as quickly as you can. Let people vent, but stay calm. Consider the use of dedicated support pages. Own up to your mistakes, and then strive to turn that negative into a positive.

This infographic from 360 PR proposes 8 steps for planning and managing a social media crisis.

(Source: 360 PR.)