How Monitoring Can Save Your Brand in a PR Crisis

Brittany Berger
Brittany Berger

The best time to deal with a marketing or PR crisis is before anyone else knows about it. Of course, that’s unlikely, especially when it involves social media.

So you need to make sure you’re on top of your game. And how do you do that? By chaining yourself to your desk and checking social media and news sites every hour, on the hour?

Of course not.



There are much more efficient ways to be the first to find out about anything important. For example, monitoring tools.

In this blog post, we’re going to show you how to use Mention to find and handle any crisis online.

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Ways to Use Monitoring to Find Potential Crises

One of the best things about monitoring with Mention is that the real-time crawling means you find out about anything devastating sooner.

When it comes to a PR crisis, timing and responsiveness is everything. If a story breaks, one of the first things you need to consider in crafting a plan is how many people have already seen it. And the fewer, the better.

That’s why you need monitoring.

Mention’s alerts crawl the web and social media in real time, so it brings in a tweet seconds after it’s sent. If you have your alerts and settings optimized, you’ll see it soon after that and be able to jump into “crisis mode.” We’ll talk about the details of setting up your dashboard and alerts in the next chapter, but here’s what you’ll be looking for with them.


Find potential crises involving your brand

By monitoring both the news and social media in one tool, you’ll see any breaking news stories right away.

For example, say a restaurant chain has a scathing review published about one of its locations. With a real-time alert, the appropriate persons at both the local and corporate level will see it as soon as it’s live online and begin figuring out how to deal with any blowback.


Find unhappy or disgruntled customers

The social media monitoring aspects specifically will really come in handy if any disgruntled customer ever decides to rant on social media.

Depending on the customer and the rant, it can have serious implications. And the sooner you find it, the sooner you can write a response and look into long-term effects.


Track key stakeholders

Online blunders will happen from time to time. Maybe one of your c-suites say the wrong thing in a tweet or an interview. In those cases, a carefully crafted response is all the more important - you’re responding to something said by your own team.

So wouldn’t you want to have as long as possible to craft it?

Again, monitoring puts time on your side in this situation. You could have the perfect gameplan handled by the first journalist contacting you for a comment.

So once you’ve determined what you need to monitor for your crisis communications plan, you’ll want to set up a dashboard to do so. In the next chapter, we’ll talk about how to create alerts that find what you need, and nothing more.


Setting Up Your Crisis Management Dashboard

Once you have a crisis communication plan and know what you need to monitor, you need to figure out the best way to do so.

You want to be comprehensive and thorough, while still efficient and timely. That takes a more complicated strategy than “log in, check notifications.” If you really want to stay on top of your brand and any potential crises, you need a monitoring tool that lets you get dive deeper.

Mention, for example, makes it easy to find the exact information or content you’re looking for. Here are a few ways to customize your alerts to build a dashboard for crisis management.


Mix required and optional keywords

When you’re first creating an alert, you want to build it to accomplish a goal - and only one goal. If you’re looking for potential crises, then an alert bringing in every social mention won’t be very helpful.

It’ll have a ton of information that you don’t really need to see - not for crisis management, anyway. So for that particular alert, those conversations are just noise.




To drill down on the specific purpose for your alert, you can use a combination of keywords instead of just one. Mix required and optional keywords to create monitoring alerts to find conversations that, for example, include both your brand name and CEO’s name, or your brand name and the word “awful.”

In crisis management, this can help you identify conversations that might spin out into a crisis, while ignoring the stuff you don’t need to worry about it. You can use keywords to look for conversations with negative context or intent. For example, identifying complaints with required keywords like “hate” and “sucks.”


Add negative keywords to exclude wrong contexts

In addition to adding keywords to identify certain contexts, you can also add negative keywords to exclude others.

This is another way to get rid of any noise - conversations that aren’t related to a crisis. For example, if your company has a physical location, you might want to exclude mentions from shared check-ins on apps like Swarm or Yelp. You could add a phrase from check-in shares as excluded keywords to make sure they don’t distract you in the mention stream.


Customize notifications

Finally, you can customize notifications for every alert. General monitoring uses, like a main brand alert, you don’t need to be “always on” with.

You can get daily or weekly email summaries and log in to your dashboard regularly. But when an alert is monitoring for a potential crisis, you want to know when it pulls in something. Immediately.

You can customize any alert’s email, mobile, or web notifications to control how often you get them.

Once you’ve set up a crisis management dashboard, it’s time to start using it.

Using Monitoring to Prevent a Crisis

Brand monitoring can also be used to catch potential problems before they spin into full-blown crises. By setting up alerts specifically designed to catch things on the rise and taking advantage of a few clever features built just for these scenarios, you can start reacting to complaints or news items before they spread too far.


Capture risky intents and tones

The first step to using monitoring for preventing crises is creating alerts that can find them in the first place.

You learned about how alerts can use required, optional, and negative keywords to add specificity to your alerts. They make it possible to filter out a lot of your brand’s mentions - like those that aren’t relevant to crisis management. You can also use sentiment analysis to identify negative mentions and conversations.

Specifically, you’ll want to look out for negative mentions from influencers, which you can do by filtering your alert by sentiment, then sorting your mention stream by influence.


Turn on frequent notifications

With most alerts, I recommend that people log in once or twice a day and check in on things. Not with crisis management. Not at all. In this case, timing is everything. You want to know as soon as that mention goes online, and access to that is why real-time monitoring is so great for crisis communication. As mentioned, you can customize email, browser, and web notifications to adjust their frequencies.


Use Mention Pulse

In addition to Mention notifications and digests, there’s also Mention Pulse. Where those settings adjust how frequently you get notifications about individual mentions, Pulse looks at your overall volume and trends.

This is useful when you need to know how quickly something is spreading online. Pulse looks at volume patterns and lets you know when something’s out of the ordinary. For example, if you normally get 25 mentions per hour on a Tuesday afternoon, and one Tuesday you’re getting a few hundred instead.

It will let you catch things picking up buzz before they’re viral for too long.


Assign Tasks to Teammates

There are also a bunch of collaboration features that will come in handy in a crisis. Your communications team will likely be “all hands on deck,” and you’ll need to keep track of who’s dealing with what.

In your initial crisis communications plan, you should have plans for which team member is responsible for which tasks, including sending responses.

Assign tasks and share them with coworkers to delegate things to different team members to get everything dealt with sooner.

But if, by chance, you don’t catch something in time to prevent a crisis, you won’t need to deal with more tools and dashboard. Let’s look at how you can continue using monitoring throughout a crisis.

Dealing With an Ongoing Crisis

You can’t always catch something before it spins out of control. After all, the internet never sleeps, but you need to.

Even if you have team members monitoring around the clock, not everything can be prevented. It’s an unfortunate fact. When that happens, you need to become even more vigilant in managing public conversation.


Collaborate with Your Team

Continue to collaborate with your team throughout the crisis. But you’ll want to change your approach.

When in prevention mode, you’re all about reacting quickly and calling your communication team members to action. Once you have an actual crisis to manage, you’ll have a lot of other people to bring into the loop.

Key stakeholders will need to know what’s going on, as will anyone who might be asked questions about the situation. For example, any customer-facing roles.

Using the share feature, you can email mentions to anyone, whether or not they have a Mention account. This means you can send things to large groups of people, with comments, to keep them informed.


Join Conversations

You’ll still want to react and reply to things quickly and efficiently. Joining conversations can help manage the public perception of the crisis, making a big impact in how long it lasts.

Consider enlisting as many people as possible to share the workload, but make sure everyone is trained and informed on how to handle the subject.


Use Bulk Actions

Triaging your Mention feed will make reacting quickly a little bit easier. By bulk editing up to 100 mentions at a time, you can easily archive things once they’re dealt with, favorite things to refer back to, or delete or mark irrelevant mentions as spam.


Create Reports

Finally, when all is said and done it’s time for some reflection. When you need to measure the impact of a certain crisis, Mention’s reports and dashboards can give you hard numbers.

Moving On

When a crisis is totally under control, you have some time to come up for air. But even though you can breathe easier, it’s far from behind you.

In the weeks and months after a crisis, it will still follow you. There may be lasting damage to your brand that you’ll have to work to repair. There may be procedures and postmortems to perform to measure how you dealt with the crisis and improve your processes for next time.

But at least you can do that all knowing it’s behind you.

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Brittany Berger is a guest blogger at Mention.