By now the social crisis seems to have died down, but last Thursday, the biggest story of the day was that McDonald’s Twitter account was hacked and tweeted anti-Trump posts. Throughout the day, and the next couple days as well, I was monitoring this social crisis to see what people were saying on Social Media and I found some interesting data that I was able to share with some great media outlets, including The Drum and MediaPost.

Now that things have calmed down a bit, I thought it would be a great time to reflect on the hack and share a few suggestions on how you can make sure that if you ever have to deal with a social crisis, you will be properly prepared.

Throughout McDonald’s’ social crisis, most of the conversations (97%) occurred on Twitter, which makes sense since that is where the hack occurred, and overall the response from people online was fairly mixed, yet slightly leaning towards negative: 14.44% of the posts about this social crisis were negative, with 13.96% being positive.

What was really interesting to me, was the words that people were using when discussing the hack. For example, the top five hashtags showed that the sentiment split was a fairly accurate read on people’s takes about the hack, as the top hashtags clearly showed both pro-Trump and anti-Trump responses to McDonald’s’ situation:

  • #McDonalds
  • #Trump
  • #FakeNews
  • #BoycottMcDonalds
  • #Hacked

If you want to see more data and analytics around the McDonald’s hack from last week then I highly recommend you read the two articles that I shared earlier where you will find more of our data, but what I think is really important is to understand how you can be prepared for a social crisis like this, one that you can’t predict or prevent.

We’ve discussed on our blog before many tactics that can be used during a social crisis, and I think that this post is a great list of tips. I will, therefore, not replicate that entire list, but I will touch on a couple of the highlights that I think are crucial to remember.

Social Listening and Alerts

If you are a brand in 2017 then you are online and that means that you are always one online mistake from a social crisis. This is why it’s crucial that you have a Social Listening platform in place that can provide you with alerts that will help you get ahead of a social crisis before it picks up too much steam. It is imperative that you are alerted in real-time when there is a major increase in volume and a major shift in sentiment, both of which are clear signs of an impending social crisis (or that one is already happening).

Track What People Are Saying

As you can see from the data I shared above, one of the most important things to know during a social crisis is what people are saying. This goes beyond seeing and reading every single tweet. This means you have to know what are the top hashtags that are being associated with your brand right now. What are the common words that people are using when discussing your brand right now? When you know this, you will be able to use that to craft proper messaging that touches on what your audience is talking about and can help you get through the social crisis quicker and with less damage done to your brand since you will likely be able to give out the answers that your audience wants, but in a way that allows you to control the messaging.

A social crisis is not always preventable, but that is why it’s more important than ever to make sure that you’re fully prepared to handle them if you ever are unfortunately forced to. For more information on how to manage, prepare for and even prevent a social crisis, check out our free eBook: Plan For Your Next Crisis With Social Intelligence: A Complete Guide.