How do I build a Crisis Management Listening strategy?

This feature is only available for Social Listening customers.

Sprout’s Listening tools help you monitor and manage your brand reputation in moments of crisis or controversy. You can use Listening to inform your responses to crises and to track reactions to any brand statements.

Before you create a Crisis Management Listening strategy, it’s useful to understand how to build a Listening query.

Creating a Crisis Management topic

To create a Crisis Management topic, navigate to Listening Templates > Custom Topic.


Creating themes

Crisis management is about being proactive—catching a potential problem earlier lets you craft a response strategy faster. It’s a good idea to create a theme in your existing Listening topic as soon as you notice any unusual or concerning words or phrases. If this conversation continues gaining momentum, we recommend setting up a new crisis management topic so that everything in the topic is related to the crisis. This makes it easier to track and report the entirety of a crisis.

Potential crisis themes and topics might include key words, people or categories that relate to this crisis. You’ll want to capture all the different variations of how people are talking about this potential crisis and your brand or industry so you can understand how the controversy is affecting you. You can also view top posts by different metrics to see what is driving traffic in your theme.



The Performance tab can help you better understand the volume and types of messages you receive during a moment of crisis. In addition to the snapshot view of your topic summary, you can dig into volume, sentiment and engagement.


Total Volume can give you a sense of the scale of the conversation. You can combine these insights with Sprout’s other features to track and manage responses. For example, if you’re on the Professional or Advanced plan, you can set up rules to auto-tag comments and pull that tag data into your Reports. You can create similar workflows around sentiment analysis for received messages in the Tag Performance Report.


Sentiment trends over time can help you measure how you’re handling a controversy. For example, you can track the response to a brand statement.



The Conversation tab provides valuable insights for crisis management. The Word Cloud and Conversation Overview widgets give you a quick overview of the most common words and phrases in your topic. You can use these insights to refine your Listening topics and set up new queries.

The Smart Categories widget can also help identify top profiles or influencers who may be driving traffic in your topic. You can use these insights to create themes for specific figures or refine topics to include or exclude these profiles.



The Profile Overview widget in Demographics can help identify who’s driving the conversation around your topic. In addition to viewing messages from specific profiles, you can add or exclude profiles from your topic if you want to track or filter out those conversations.



You can explore what individual people are saying about the crisis under the Messages tab. Messages are useful for providing context, but you don’t need to read each one. You can filter by specific keywords and sentiment if you want to dig deeper.


Sharing insights

In a crisis, it’s critical for PR, legal, executive and other teams to remain informed so the organization can craft a response. You can quickly share your Listening insights with stakeholders outside Sprout using the link sharing feature.



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