A Lesson in Managing a Social Crisis, From an Unlikely Source

By now, you most likely have seen the blog by recent college graduate Cathryn Sloane, who argued that all social media managers should be under the age of 25.

“You might argue that everyone, regardless of age, was along for the ride,” she wrote. “We spent our adolescence growing up with social media… no one else will ever be able to have as clear an understanding of these services, no matter how much they may think they do.”

Her blog incurred a barrage of criticism: angry comments (over 500 at the time of this writing), Facebook shares, tweets, responses by bloggers from all over the internet, even Forbes. She was even invited on an all-expense paid scholarship to the New Media Expo, the conference formerly known as BlogWorld.

But missing from this conversation is Cathryn herself. She doesn’t respond to comments on her own post, her last tweet is from before her article was published. The hateful words have been spiraling out of control for days.

An important part of managing social media for your brand is dealing with criticism and problems when they arise. Your customers have a direct line to question and comment to you, and those questions and comments in turn will be visible to the world.

When something crops up, respond as soon as possible and with thought and care. The person who originally asked will feel heard and a problem won’t spiral out of control.