Crisis Communications Planning and Social Media

In the last few weeks, I have been following the news with the intention of learning if and how businesses and organizations are dealing with social media in times of crisis.  I began digging for crisis communication plans and realized that most business or organizations go ahead with a social media plan without giving crisis communications much thought.

According to a survey from German consultancy Gartner Communications, while nearly 85% of companies worldwide have general crisis plans in place, only 20.7% have social media crisis plans set. The majority of us seem to be embracing the importance of social media marketing, without adequately preparing for the risks.

When I find tips, tricks and best practices that really speak to me, I take note of them apply them to my organization’s social media plan.  I am trusting these Best Practices for Crisis Communications over Social Media to further develop our plan and help our senior management team better understand the importance of being transparent in times of crisis.

The two recommendations that stuck with me are:
– “Leave comments on – When you shut off comments it says a lot about the brand. Have a clearly stated blogging policy noting that you’ll take criticism, but not profanity.
Monitor real-time content to answer questions, not sentiment – So much of monitoring tools is to determine sentiment. If someone doesn’t like you, don’t leave it at that. Why are they angry and how can you fix it? Often the reason there’s negative sentiment is because they haven’t had their questions answered. Instead of drawing a chart that says “40 percent of users don’t like us” why not just answer the issue they’re having? Just saying, “We feel your pain” doesn’t solve a problem. Instead ask, “How can we solve your pain?”

Do you have a crisis communications component in your social media plan?  I most certainly did not fall into the 20.7% that does…

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~ by Anick on February 9, 2011.

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