Over the weekend, one of the tools we use for social media management, Buffer, was hacked. Amazingly, the Buffer team turned what could have been an overwhelming fiasco into an example of well-managed crisis control by responding quickly and transparently.
Arik Hanson over at Communications Conversations shared a great overview and critique of how Buffer handled themselves this weekend, so rather than echoing his words, I’ve shared his version below.
I will add one thought about crisis communications and social media. I read a great blog post today about the overarching sentiment that keeps people off social media: fear. There are lots of inspirational sayings out there that speak to this feeling — Thomas Jefferson’s “With great risk comes great reward,” or William G. T. Shedd’s “A ship in the harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships were made for.”
The thing about social media is you get out of it what you put in. If you simply try to capitalize on it without a real strategy, a genuine eye to consumer relations or thoughtful consistency, you’ll likely see mediocre engagement in response. But if you invest time in creating an online community and social persona that fits your brand, you’ll see the enormous opportunity social media provides.
Operating by fear can certainly help guide you (to avoid foot-in-mouth disasters like these) but as we saw with Buffer this weekend, sometimes it is the social media management of a situation that helps allay the situations we fear most in marketing!
Over the weekend, you may have seen the tweets/posts about a number of people’s Buffer accounts getting hacked. Here’s just one example of the many tweets I started seeing around noon on Saturday:
Big problem, right? Would Buffer respond over the weekend? How quickly would they be able to fix the hack? And how loudly would the legion of Buffer users complain?
Turns out, Buffer was all over this. ALL OVER THIS.
Within an hour (by my watch) Buffer had responded on Twitter and Facebook (the two primary platforms of use).
They also had a running blog post with more specific updates–including a timeline–up on Saturday afternoon as well.
The post detailed the timeline and gave specific guidance around how to reconnect your accounts (with screen grabs–which was a nice add).
You’ll also notice the post had 175-plus comments (as of Sun. afternoon)–many of which were supporting the complimenting Buffer for how they managed the situation.