12th December 2014
Crisis Management Advice From @Sweden
In another effort to write about something I love and somehow relate it to digital marketing, this week I’m bringing you a blog post about Sweden.
Though I’ve never visited the country, I’ve been learning (or attempting to learn) Swedish for about a year (thanks to this guy), and I’m hoping to go there next summer. I recently learned a few interesting things about the country – university tuition is free, Sweden hasn’t formally been at war for 200 years, they are closing some prisons due to a lack of criminals, and the country’s official Twitter account, @Sweden, is given to a random citizen every week to manage.
That last one is an interesting idea, isn’t it? The Curators of Sweden project started on 10th December 2011 (my birthday, quite fittingly), and it aims to promote Sweden and everything the country has to offer, through the different opinions and ideas voiced by the curators.
This sounds like it could work really well, but it has also proved to be potentially dangerous, as in 2012 after the project had been going for just seven months, a curator began to post strange tweets, some of which were taken to be anti-Semitic.
However, this blip didn’t halt the project (even though it wasn’t the only incident of odd tweets on the account), and last week the account was managed by a particularly interesting curator who provided some very useful information. Jeanette Fors-Andrée is a crisis management advisor who helps companies with their crisis and media management strategies when things start to go wrong – for example when a company has said something it shouldn’t have on social media or is getting other negative press. During her week managing @Sweden, she tweeted some great advice for companies who are tackling crises via social media.
Essentially, Jeanette advises that business communicate directly with their critics, outline facts and tell the truth, apologise where necessary, and clear up any misunderstandings. Keeping a good tone, outlining what you will do in the future to prevent the problem from arising again, and posting a link to your website where you can say exactly what you need to without worrying about a character limit, are all important. She also points out that social media can be used not just to react to problems, but to build brand ambassadors, giving the business more people on their side should a crisis hit.
With little gems such as @jeanettefors being given the reins on Sweden’s Twitter account, who will the country unearth next, and could other countries benefit from doing the same thing? I think the answer is yes, and it could perhaps even work for some businesses – allowing citizens or staff members to man the social media account for a week could inject more personality, relatability and familiarity into a brand or country, helping to build relationships with customers and visitors.