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.