5 tips for drawing up your social media crisis plan

SOS Keys

SOS Keys

The social web is largely public. Yes, everything that gets shared, published, tweeted, liked, uploaded, pinned, +1’d or commented on. Everyone is now a citizen journalist, capable of sharing anything at any time. That means anyone with internet access. The web has gone mobile and so have all the users making use of the various social media channels available.

Did you know that it can take 140 characters or less to make or break a reputation in today’s digital business environment? Bad news spreads like wildfire and the days are long gone where a business that received negative feedback could wait and devise a plan before it published. If you are worried about your digital reputation or if you want to start promoting yourself on social media, having a social media crisis plan can help you when a negative comment about your brand or business snowballs online.

Here are a few tips to help you get started with your social media crisis plan:

1. Monitor the social web
Set up a couple of listening outposts on the social web to monitor the conversations going on that are relevant to your business. This can help you to be notified of any issues before they turn into a wild-fire. When a crisis hits, assess and research everything you can about the situation.

2. Use social media as your communication vehicle
Social media is an important communication medium to handle potential issues that erupt online. Determine where you will be integrating social media in your business communication strategy to ensure your message is consistent and efficient.

3. Build your digital footprint before a crisis
If you already have a couple of social media profiles on popular channels such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, it will be easier to respond when a crisis hits. Start promoting your social media presence so that your clients will know where to turn in case of an emergency. To ensure you have a connection with them in advance, use these channels to engage and communicate with them on a regular basis.

4. Social media policies
The middle of a crisis is not the right time to consider who can access various social media channels and what they can update on them. At a bare minimum, create a basic social media policy and guidelines around access restrictions, personal data, and comments. Outline what comments and information will be deleted and who has access to what.

5. Have an escalation procedure in place
Determine who from senior management or the communication department in your company needs to be contacted in case of a social media crisis. This list must be updated often with personal emails and numbers. Who will be contacted during office hours and after hours?

In today’s digital business world it’s important to use social media as your vehicle of communication when you are part of a crisis online. Your customers, employees, and the public expect it because they are already using the social web to talk to each other.

Anton Koekemoer


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