How to Determine Which Social Comments to Respond to in a Crisis

While responding to every comment in the social world would be a nice luxury during a crisis, it’s simply an unrealistic expectation. Learning to determine which comments you should reply to will be key to owning social conversations during a crisis.

The basic equation you’ll want to use is:

Social Influence + Intensity of Comment = Value of Responding

Social Influence:
This is something that many services can help you determine. It’s based on how far an individual’s influence travels in the social world. Considerations for this value include how many followers they have on Twitter and friends/fans on Facebook. 

A second factor is whether they have “active” fans/followers. If this person posts something, will their fans then extend that impact by retweeting, reposting, commenting, etc.? The greater the number of fans/followers times the likelihood of them engaging the content equals “social influence.”

Intensity of Comment:
This is a factor for both positive and negative comments. If it’s neutral, it doesn’t have a huge impact in the social world—but highly charged statements will. In order to have great input in the social conversation, target comments that are more likely to have responses because they are taking a more concrete view of the situation.

Value of Responding:
When you know the social influence combined with the intensity of the comment, you’ll be able to determine whether that user is someone that you should take the time to respond to. Your goal is to engage the social conversation regarding the crisis—every time that conversation extends further (social influence), you want to engage it with either feedback or support.

Carolyn Kim is a digital communications specialist at Ambassador Advertising Agency in Orange County, Calif. She is also an adjunct professor of public relations at Biola University and an author and speaker on social media and SEO strategies.

This article was adapted from PR News’ Crisis Communications Guidebook, Vol. 5This and other guidebooks can be ordered at the PR News Press online store. 

Comments Off

Deals of the Week

Get $150 Off PR News' Measurement Conference 

Media Relations ConferenceJoin PR News at the National Press Club on Dec. 11 for the Media Relations Conference, where you'll learn how to tie your media relations initiatives to business goals, use the right metrics to prove the success of your efforts, incorporate social media in a brand crisis and more.

Use code “150” at checkout to save $150 on the regular rate.

Get $50 off PR News' Crisis Management Guidebook


Crisis management is an art, not a science. In this edition of PR News’ Book of Crisis Management Strategies & Tactics, you will discover many different views on this art, and you are certain to find takeaways that will transform the way your organization handles crises. 

Use code “50off” at checkout.

Save $100 on a PR News Subscription



Let PR News become your weekly, go-to resource for the latest PR trends, case studies and tip sheets. Topics covered include visual storytelling, social media, measurement, crisis management and media relations.

Use code “SUBDEAL” at checkout.

Comments are closed.