Continuing in the footsteps of the “new me,” as suggested by my Social Media guru betters: Shorter posts and no more criticism of anything.

A new paradigm of simplicity: How smart turned out to be the wrong approach.

All these months, I have been leading you astray with crazy notions of digital crisis management that involved listening to what angry internet denizens had to say, acknowledging their grievances, giving them a place to vent that doesn’t interfere with your brand communications, asking them to recommend solutions to the problem, etc. Turns out that this was too much tactical mumbo-jumbo. Apologies for making stuff so complicated and businessy. It was just impossible for the kids at the back of the class to follow.

Embracing the suggestion that everyone has a right to be right in Social Media.

Besides, there was no way for me to formulate these types of posts without sounding negative towards Social Media professionals who didn’t seem to know how to do it. (Something that I have been told time and time again. I should have listened sooner.) Not that I meant to step on toes, but when you tell people the right way to do things, it kind of implies that they are doing it wrong, and no one likes that. So… By being so into “best practices,” I was actually being rude and insensitive to my less qualified counterparts. The last thing I would want is for their bosses and clients to figure out that they weren’t as good at their jobs as their websites said they were, right?

Now that I have turned a new leaf with project “live and let live,” I realize that I need to suggest a different approach to digital crisis management. One that is more in-line with the kind of advice that many Social Media experts likes to give. So, in my continuing effort not to judge, to agree with the bandwagon, and most importantly make sure that every Social Media expert – no matter how new to the space – feels safe selling whatever kinds of services they want to their clients regardless of effectiveness, this is me taking the repeated advice of my respected peers: Stop being so critical! Instead of calling out bad practices today, let’s instead turn lemons into Social Media lemonade. Let’s embrace any and all advice, because it is all equally valid.

Here we go. The 5 new rules of digital crisis management:

Rule #1: Content is still king. The first thing you need to do when mean bloggers attack your Twitter page or Facebook wall with negativity, is hire someone to help you develop a content strategy. This is key. Without a content strategy, you cannot hope to respond to criticism on the web. Don’t take my word for it, though. Ask anybody!

More good advice from the pros: The slower your response, the more likely it is that your PR problems will go away on their own, so no need to hurry. Take your time.

Rule #2: Embrace transparency. If you don’t know what that means, I suggest asking your content strategist to recommend a transparency strategist immediately. A certified transparency strategist will help you make sure that your content strategy is transparent enough to effectively get rid of those pesky bloggers through conversation and engagement.

Rule #3: Engage! This means making sure that your content actually gets published in a transparent way, especially on the twitternets and Facebooks. You could hire an engagement strategist, but in case your budget is starting to feel a little strained, ask your content strategist if they can help you execute on their content strategy. You know, like stringing 140-character responses together for you. A good content strategist should already have a crap-load of canned strategized responses for you that worked for their other big-name clients. See if they’ll sell you that gold mine of content. If you still have the budget for it, see if they can’t recommend a conversation strategist as well. Those can come in pretty handy.

As a bonus, try to score some of their “viral” engagement content and add THAT to your content strategy. If you can make your engagement viral, you’re assured a Social Media win, especially in the middle of a crisis.

Here is a little tip that all Social Media gurus know. You should know it too: Know the Social Media vocabulary, and you are 90% there. (Shhh. Don’t tell anybody.) Get you some of that viral content asap!

Rule #4: Autheticity is your heart. Rip it out of your chest and show them! Let those angry Social Media bullies know that you are authentic! How? By telling people how authentic you are. Examples of this in Twitter sentences:

We are an authentic brand. Would you like to become a brand ambassador today?

Our responses are as authentic as we are. Read all about our authenticity strategy here.

Our content strategy is to be authentic when we engage with our fans through authentic conversations.

See? Easy. (Now you try!)

Why the need for authenticity? Because many independent marketing studies have shown that the more authentic a brand is, the more Word-Of-Mouth it will generate on the interwebs, and that’s how you judge success. (Mentions are everything.) There is no such thing as bad publicity, right?

Rule #5: Be positive! Focus on the mentions. When reporting to the brass (or the client) on their Social Media metrics for the month, be sure to show them how many mentions they got while people were firebombing their Social Media accounts. Also be sure to take credit for the surge in mentions, so they will know how well your Social Media strategy is working out for them. FTW!

Don’t be fooled though. Only entrust your digital crisis response strategy to either certified social media consultants, the advertising agency that designed your twitter page’s cool graphics, or people whose business cards state clearly that they are either conversation, engagement, or content strategists. Or okay, maybe the intern, but only you have changed their title to “(insert word here) strategist.”  Like… Crisis Response Strategist, or Social Media Crisis Management Strategist. Something like that. Make it catchy so they can put it on their resume.

Wow. You know what? This blogging thing is a lot easier now that I don’t need to worry about things like… oh, integrity, logic or reason. Extra bonus: My posts are short now. Everyone should like that!

Isn’t this much better than when I was overly analytical and “critical” of everything?