Social Media Crisis Management

Edited by Admin






The following publicity crisis social media guidelines have been compiled for use by small business hair salons, hairstylists and hair salon operators and their salon tenants (herein referred to as “the hair salon business”) and those designated as social media administrator(s)¹.  It’s implemented to keep the hair salon business going (continuity) while the business’s reputation is managed (crisis).  Its origin was one or a series of extremely inappropriate posts, reels or other formats posted to the hair salon’s social channel(s).


This document helps explain the roles and responsibilities, and processes through the unfortunate and untimely stages of a social media crisis and helps limit the spread or virality of the crisis.  There is an immediacy to communicate to the social space user who initiated the “crisis” and to answer their concerns as precisely as possible, as truthfully as possible, and as fast as possible on the nature and status of the crisis at hand.  The overarching objective is to mitigate the issues before it affects the hair salon's reputation and its future.


This module is meant as a guideline to write your procedures specifically for use by all those who have a social media responsibility for the business in the time of crisis.  In this way, those with responsibility will be confident they are representing the voice of the business and that the assurances/promises to lessen the crisis that were communicated in the social space are followed through. Although social is collaborative, in the instance of a social media crisis, following the continuity plan is the priority and its procedures should be of the utmost importance.


As any company dealing with the public, a business is vulnerable.  Yet as a responsible business, it is committed to being responsive, truthful, upfront, and deeply concerned about the user and their feelings and opinions.  The objective is to keep the crisis at a manageable level and not reduce, erode, or distort the reputation of the hair salon business which naturally accompanies a crisis.


¹social media administrators are defined as those employees, contract, gig workers or recognized 3rd party agent/supplier/partners who communicate on online channels on behalf of the business



A social media crisis can be any number of things, but, in this self-policing, publicly judged social environment, it is generally defined as something negative that the hair salon business did, said or did not do or say on their online channels.  Subsequently, this action or inaction created negative buzz online. But if it is not resolved AND continues to “grow” with other users engaging and passing on and escalating, it may be problematic.  These guidelines are the next steps, because at this point, it is big and it is serious!


What may be philosophically, morally, ethically or operationally acceptable to the hair salon business may be seen as unacceptable or perceived to be unacceptable in the social space.  Now is not the time to judge whether the accusations are fair or not, it is in the public domain, so now is the time for the hair salon business to stand up and navigate through the crisis. It is not to be taken personally; it is about the subject not the people.


Therefore, due to the viral nature of social, the communiqué (defined as post, tweet, pin, blog, share, retweet, repin etc.) has come to the attention of other social space users.  It has had a negative impact AND it is still gaining traction with negative attention and commentary from more and more fans, friends, followers, referred to as a “viral expansion loop”.


From this point, the key stakeholders such as the hair salon owner, Social Admin and Public Relations (PR), if hired, are working side by side, responding with the same internal and external messaging. 



Any good business does not mean to but sometimes it does inadvertently start a crisis with what they communicate.  Owners of social channels, like Microsoft (LinkedIn), Google (YouTube), Jack Dorsey (Twitter) or Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook, Instagram) have also been criticized and legislated to take responsibility to what is being posted and transmitted on their channels.


Here is a suggested list, though never complete, of what NOT to do visually and grammatically on social media or your posts, less your hair salon business befalls a self-induced crisis:

·      don’t disrespect any religion or religious symbols

·      don’t use such words as: kill, get him/her, massacre, murder, hang, lynch, obliterate, slaughter, slay, smother, wipe out, do away with, exterminate, put to death etc.,

·      don’t use such symbols/emojis as a dagger, knife (place settings are ok), gun, blood, sword, blade or any other form of “kill” symbol,

·      don’t create any pdf/gif/memes as that remotely resemble any of the above.



i. Operationally:

·      Develop clear and consistent messaging,

·      Understand the role social now plays in communication, and ALWAYS include,

·      Social Administrators know their online community and will push to protect that audience,

·      Transparency is key in social, own up, immediately,

·      Social Admins must know salon’s experts within the business, if the crisis involves hair services, who can be counted on and contacted FAST,

·      Social must have open access with stakeholders to engage and then communicate thru the social channels.

ii. Implementation:

·      Listen, respond and have a plan,

·      Admit or acknowledge the truth, admit mistake, confirm the facts and without excuses or blame,

·      Respond immediately (within the guidelines set in the escalation chart further on in this document),

·      Keep visible, keep the conversation going.



A social media crisis arises in a number of ways and the treatment and level of responsiveness differs accordingly.  Similar to a Call Centre, whose role is to handle operational complaints, and so much more, and is the verbal channel in which to response, social media is the “go to” in the online space. 


This would include not only those channels in which the business has a presence, but as many other social channels as possible, in case negative comments migrate there. 


Social Media Monitoring software, such as², is helpful here.  This software helps monitor the sentiment holistically on all channels, picking up the negative comments thru its tracking capabilities and delivering results more quickly than if the business monitors each channel separately.


For a small business, the software is cost prohibitive, so instead manually monitor channels amongst as many salon stakeholders and social representatives as possible.


Channels to monitor in social include:



LinkedIn          Additional monitored channels might include²:

Google+                                 YouTube

Tumblr                                    Myspace



²note Radian6 does not track all channels mentioned above, some individual monitoring is necessary


Set up Google Alerts on your business, using both your hair salon business name and your personal name plus if there is an employee, gig worker, contract worker who is part of the crisis, add their name to your Google Alerts. As the name suggests, your business will be alerted should any of these “search” terms be used by an outside party on Google.  Google Alerts does not monitor social channels, however your Alert term on Google may trigger a Google result tied to social.    



The desirable objective is to de-escalate the crisis as soon as possible. The continuity plan implementation details in the next few sections, assigns roles and responsibilities and guides all involved with the hair salon business’s social media, by using progressively intensifying communication tactics.  It clarifies the escalation levels and the information sharing protocols (approval process) as well as the key stakeholders who need to be available and engaged depending on the nature and the gravity or persistence of the situation. 


A media crisis does not always begin offline and move to online channels.  It can originate online and then move offline.  Before the advent of social media, negative publicity was limited and communicated through the traditional media such as broadcast, print or both.  The point person was usually a Public Relations (PR) department or PR Consultant.  Increasingly though, social channels have become the front line in the circulation of negative publicity.  Even if a business is not in the online space (i.e., no Instagram or Facebook account, no Twitter, LinkedIn profile etc.), the business WILL still be talked about and will still be exposed to an online crisis.


In the case of a social media crisis, all stakeholders of the business are partnered “tied at the hip” (plus a PR firm if engaged).  They work very closely at this time to communicate in a similar voice online and the social admin are the “carrier” of the message in the social channels.  Social focuses on the online channels, the hair salon owner and PR focuses on the offline.  PR may handle some non-social channel offline such as online newspaper media and media bloggers and with whom they have an ongoing relationship.


Again, dependent on the level of complexity, expect both “push out” proactive communication/key messaging i.e., press releases, press conference AND “pull in” having an ongoing dialogue of user opinions in which the business MUST decide to respond or not.



Centralize a list of whom the key hair salon people are and be specific as to where to locate them and how.  First make a centralized list of responders for your hair salon business, similar to below, and fill in with contact information on all those who are involved or potentially could be useful. 


i. Example centralized list: For alerting of the problem and implementation of messaging/monitoring/managing social media channels from small business to medium size salon, keep this list of responders nearby:

First level responder

Salon’s Day to Day Social Administrator

First & Second level responder

Salon’s Backup Social Administrator

Third level responder

Owner or Senior Management

Third & Fourth level responder

Owner/PR Consultant or Firm (brought in by Owner)


ii. You’ve decided there is a crisis, who is in charge for flow content and information to social administrators³. List here.


A/ Name/Title/DD/Office location (plus floor number)/email address

B/ Name/Title/DD/Office location (plus floor number)/email address

C/ Name/Title/DD/Office location (plus floor number)/email address

D/ Name/Title/DD/Office location (plus floor number)/email address


³call list above not in order or seniority, random use depending on the issue is appropriate



There are trolls out there ready to pounce the minute a business trips up.  Respond professionally, quickly and with transparency.


Crisis Level 1 –

Response Review

Decided Appropriate Quick Correction Needed for Customer



Crisis Level 2 –

Response Review

Considered Unclear or Inaccurate, Not Offensive to Reputation


Crisis Level 3 –

Response Review


Low risk

Offensive (profane or not)


Crisis Level 4 –

Response Review


Offensive to Brand Value and Integrity of the business


- don’t delete the comment


- immediately thank the poster for the comments, and acknowledge appreciation


- then offer a general explanation or more specific depending on the circumstance


- is this trend problematic or just part of the new norm


- wait up to 12 – 24 hours to see if brand ambassadors will enter the conversation or if others might jump in having their own expertise highlighted

(a brand ambassador is someone unrelated to the business who believer in the integrity of the business and will communicate that on their social channels. They do it without a request from the business in crisis)


- allowable time between posts/responses up to 24 hours


- don’t delete the comment


- post contains unclear or inaccurate info on:

* inaccurate media or news questions or comments on salon’s:

* key stakeholder

* company values

* services

* employees

* participation in an event


- immediately thank the poster for the comments and ask for clarification prior to a directional reply.


- allowable time between posts/responses and monitoring up to 12 hours.


*between 50 – 100/200 comments (forwards, shares, retweets etc.) and/or under 100 emails


If offensive but not profane:

- do not delete the comment

- coordinate with approved authors for same messaging

- allowable time between posts/responses & monitoring up to 2 hours


If offensive and profane:

- delete the comment immediately

if post contains:

*violence, profanity, offensive to the user or discriminatory

*serious concerns/issues

*allegations not appropriate

*cursing or name calling


- reply by reminding the user of social media etiquette guidelines and this post was not within the guidelines, so deleted. Visit the guidelines by going to guidelines in your specific country.


-consideration to block this person from future communication.


In both instances:

- social admin document incident and post where stakeholders can see latest updates


* over 200 comments

(forwards, shares, retweets etc.)

and/or over 100 emails


- this post is probably strongly worded, but if no profanity, user wants to be heard and the post MUST NOT be deleted


- may have to stop posting the regularly scheduled editorial calendar to focus on resolving


- coordinate with approved authors for appropriate response response and to ensure same messaging


- social admin documents incident and post where stakeholders can see the latest updates


- allowable time between posts/responses and monitoring up to 1 hour


- if profane see level 3


Information Sharing Protocol

Social Administrator can handle themselves.


Information Sharing Protocol

Social Administrator seeks guidance on standard response:

From first or second in command


Information Sharing Protocol

Social Administrator seeks guidance on elevated response(s):

From first or second in command and advice from PR Consultant/firm

Information Sharing Protocol

Social Administrator seeks guidance on elevated response(s):


From first or second in command and the Owner and PR Consultant/Owner



Below are examples of negative media in the social space which may include, but are not limited to these themes:


Crisis Levels 1 &2 negative messages on:

Hair cut or style fee problem

Dirty Salon or Dirty hair styling tools

Long wait for appointment

Transacting online only or does not take a certain credit card

Sign up for Facebook promotion or Insta and now receiving emails they don’t want

Not fulfilling a promotional promise

Unsubscribe from emails but they continue to be sent

Web site functionality


Crisis Levels 3 (if not profane) & 4 themes

Clients didn’t receive same price or prices have increased AND/OR haven’t been told in advance

Employees are at fault

Conflicts of interest make public

Public comments made by key stakeholders

Rogue employee comments

Unsatisfied prospects unhappy with “complete mispricing” etc.

Marketing campaign misperceived by the public, being tongue and cheek on a sensitive societal issue i.e. using very skinny models creating a backlash of “she looks anorexic” or “industry should be ashamed to make a girl starve herself”

Being lumped in with something one of the bigger competitors did such as not giving long term/part time workers permanent employment



Crisis Level 1 & 2

Create messages to erase fears

Respond to all client queries, while carrying on with regularly scheduled editorial content calendar.  Because we don’t censor anyone except if it is socially offensive, we stay on topic and keep discussion going.

Don’t respond necessarily, instead take a little time to let brand ambassadors defend the brand, giving the community a chance to tell what they want about the business.


Suggested action phrases for posts include, but are not limited to:

“Share this……”

“Click here for more …..”

“Talk about this to your friends….”

“RT to friends….”

“Continue to connect with us….”

“Give us your questions....”

“Hey great, let’s keep the discussion going….”

“Hi (first name), sorry to hear about your negative experience. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help….”

“Hey folks, tell us what you want….”

“Hi, (first name), thanks for reaching out. Could you please email us at so we can look into this for you …?”

“Please let us know if you are continuing to experience this….”

“Thanks for the beta, we’ve learned to ………………………”



Example of Resolved Post

“Thank you for reaching out to us and sorry to hear about your experience. We are certainly glad you are enjoying ____________. “



Crisis Level 3 (if not profane) & 4

Create messages to erase fears

Respond to all client queries, may have to stop carrying on with scheduled editorial content calendar. 

These levels, brand ambassadors may not wish to step in to defend the brand, so more preparedness is necessary from the Owner and other stakeholders and the social administrator(s).

May require a message and a definitive policy decision from Salon Owner


Suggested action phrases at this crisis level for posts include, but are not limited to:

From the Owner, CEO or President: “Thank you for telling us, we are pulling the commercial” (or pulling the email campaign, or the social meme, or the graphic on the channel etc.)

“Suggest we take this offline to direct to ….” (someone in the business who can respond)

“Suggest we take this offline to me directly”

“Suggest we take this offline to determine further details so we may address with the appropriate information for your answer….”

“Sorry to hear about your experience (or “this experience”) and we would like to look into it for you. Please contact us at”

“Hey that’s great, let’s keep the discussion going. Suggest we take this offline to direct to ….” (or to the appropriate department for fixing.)

“Service is very important to us and we are sorry we’ve fallen short of that with you. While we do have (define the issue), it is never our intension to make the transaction more difficult for you”

“Hey folks, tell us what you want….” (campaign gone array)

“What can we do to switch the situation….

“What can we do to reverse the situation….”

“Please accept our apologies if you were offended. It was never our intention. (then tell the action being taken) instead we were trying to bring attention to the importance of (what ever the hot button is at that time) ….”

“We’d like the opportunity to look into this for you and ensure that any mistake made by us is fixed. Please send us a private message confirming your co-ordinates on file. You may do so by email us at If you decide to cancel your association with us, we do understand though we hope you will give us a chance to do it right for you.”

“We are here for you 24/7…” (if it is that bad you should be available 24/7)

“Please let us know if you are continuing to experience this….by sending an email to ….”




Depending on the levels, tracking done either weekly or daily.


Crisis Level 1 and 2 – WEEKLY REPORTING

There is paid software available to engage, track comments and reputation monitoring.    The Do It Yourself tracking might look like this:

·      Logging, track posts manually

·      Quantity of Posts – use your own rating technique

·      Frequent Posters (both negative and the ambassadors of the brand), track manually

·      Posts and responses from the company, track manually

·      Number of shares of the negative posts, track manually

·      Monitoring # (hashtags) for trending, information, help requests and documenting post       

·      Forums – know in advance the hair forums where this negative feedback will be shared. Monitor them.


Crisis 3 and 4 levels – DAILY REPORTING

·      Logging, track posts manually

·      Quantity of Posts

·      Frequent Posters (both negative and the ambassadors of the brand), track manually

·      Posts and responses from the company, track manually

·      Number of shares of the negative posts, track manually

·      Capture feedback and share internally

·      Hair forums



There are privacy issues that may apply in times of a social media crisis.  In addition to being familiar with the privacy guidelines of the business on use and disclosure of personal information, the governments in Canada and the US (elsewhere as well) has provided guidelines and all business stakeholders should make themselves familiar with these policies and information-sharing protocols prior and during a social crisis.  The government web site link in Canada, is located at the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada Web site Privacy Emergency Kit:

In the US, we found, (this is not a typo), the most updated link:



Try to stay to short yet clear messages:

·      Max 4 lines of text on Facebook to see all of the post and eliminate click thrus

·      Max 140 characters on Twitter



 To help with your tracking, set up a special email address, web landing page and if possible, a special direct dial.

·      E address:

·      Phone:  Direct Dial (perhaps it is direct to the Owner or PR firm)

·      Landing Page:  Activate a URL for feedback such as:



Suggest annual refresher training and include in orientation process of new employees or contract workers.


·      In a crisis there is no time to coordinate procedures. You must handle as quickly as possible. You don't want the hair salon business you have grown to be jeopardized.

·      A crisis, depending on the level of severity, can close down your hair salon business, hair stylist or salon suite operation and their hair salon tenants.


CLICK HERE to go back to DIY Marketing Modules summary page. Keep checking in, other modules currently under construction.

To see our complete collection 
of DIY Marketing Modules


Disclaimer: Details related to search, site features, channel features, analytics, programs, processes etc. in the online world, have a knack of changing at a moment’s notice.  Although MANEreviews attempts to keep current with our DIY Marketing material so it continues to be relevant to you, we are not held responsible for discrepancies that may result from unexpected changes by the browsers or the social channels. We encourage you to help us help others by sending us a note to and flag the discrepancy.