It’s never easy finding yourself in the eye of a social media storm – just ask Holly Willoughby and
Phillip Schofield – and as crisis communications experts we often get asked what people should do.
The key to managing a storm is initially understanding two things; that there is no one-size-fits-all
approach and that quite often a storm is no such thing and will go away as quickly as it arrived if you
just hold your nerve let it blow over.
But if you do find yourself in full blown crisis comms mode, the worst thing you can do is ignore it
and hope it will go away; in this situation communication and authenticity are crucial. As we all
know, social media can whip up a hurricane in minutes, then the mainstream media jumps in and
they feed off each other while you spin your head and hope your world isn’t about to end.
Don’t leave an information vacuum that will be filled with speculation and rumour; tell your
audience what you are doing and why – they might not like it or believe you, but at least you’re in
Understand where you sit in the story and what your audience not just wants to hear, but what they
expect to. Read the room – the Willoughby/Schofield controversy is set against an increasingly angry
backdrop of ‘us versus them’ social politics fuelled by the cost of living crisis – and when deciding
when and how to respond. These things need taking into consideration.
And lastly, when you’ve stated your case and position, don’t be afraid to spend some time being
silent and getting on with life. Sometimes you can’t win and you can’t undo what has been done, as I
suspect is the case with Holly and Phill, and the best you can hope for is the least amount of damage
as possible as and when the circus inevitably moves on.