At We Are Social towers, we were rudely awakened on Thursday morning to a brewing Twitterstorm to deal with. Robert Scoble was Twittering to his 53k+ followers live from the Davos summit. Here are the edited highlights:

Scobleizer: @AnthonyHocken I hear Stephen Fry's Twitter account isn't done by him but rather is done by his PR firm. Lame if true.

Whatleydude: @Scobleizer I believe a PR firm helped @stephenfry set up his account (@wearesocial) ...but us Brits can assure you, it *is* him.

Scobleizer: Getting lots of pushback on Stephen Fry from people who say he's actually doing his own Tweets.

RobinGrant: @Scobleizer @wearesocial helped @stephenfry get set-up and gave him initial advice, but his tweets are all his own - see http://is.gd/hfNI

mbites: @Scobleizer yeah @stephenfry is the real deal

wearesocial: @Scobleizer @stephenfry is doing his own Tweets! We helped get him set-up and gave him initial advice, that's all. Could you please RT?

Scobleizer: RT: @wearesocial @stephenfry is doing his own Tweets! We helped get him set-up and gave him initial advice, that's all.

Scobleizer: @wearesocial glad to help clear that up. A PR company exec told me it was done by PR. I love Twitter took minutes to clear up incorrect info

vendorprisey: @scobleizer Surely the next tweet should read, sorry @stephenfry ?

Scobleizer: RT @vendorprisey: @scobleizer Surely the next tweet should read, sorry @stephenfry ? (My answer: yes. I'm sorry).

This may seem like a Twitterstorm in a teacup, but the threat to Stephen’s reputation (and ours) was real. It was essential that we acted fast to establish the truth before it spiralled out of control (in the end we were able to nip it in the bud within an hour). In fact, it was a microcosm of how we pre-empt and deal with situations like this on behalf of any of our clients:

  1. Make sure you’re already respected members of relevant communities and have built strong friendships in them before any crisis erupts.
  2. Listen carefully to the conversations relevant to your brand at all times
  3. When appropriate, respond quickly in an open, honest and human way

Those friends mentioned in point 1 are the ones who are likely to come to your aid when it matters, just as ours did above – remember that their voices may carry more weight than your own, especially in these cynical times.

This is an approach that works for clients large and small, both in everyday conversations about their brands anywhere in social media and when confronted with much bigger crises than the one above. It was battle tested during Skype’s China crisis last year and passed with flying colours.

If you’d like to know more about how we helped Skype handle that situation or our how we help brands with online reputation management, conversation response, corporate blogs or advocacy programmes, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.