To the common untrained person, social media appears to be simple and easy to master. Often you here the question How hard can it be? However picture this a teenage boy / girl’s suicide because of cyber bullying or a top corporate executive losing his job because of his insensitive or casual comment on his company induced disaster Now picture tearful parents describing their child’s struggle with cyber bullying. Now think about the phrase how hard it can be’ I am sure your perspective would have dramatically.
All business today are awakening to the inherent power of social media in generating brand awareness as well the minimal cost involved in the same. Social media if done in the right way, has the power to take control of the brands image, engage directly with customers while in the same way and add a bit of fun to B2B and B2C communications. Unfortunately, as many have learned the hard way, it’s also full of landmines. So clear and concise social media policies are crucial to side-stepping potential crisis. As a rule of thumb social media crisis management policies should be thought out well before a crisis strikes. If not, clean up requires a bit of tact.
Ideally before even you begin posting content each of the same should be carefully vetted to see how each post will interact with current messaging, the news sequence, and the community, both online and off, which includes followers, friends and employers. Exclusively for this blog post we would be only look at planning through a crisis prevention lens. The first two circles – existing messaging and the news sequence – are relatively straight forward.
Don’t refute yourself.
Don’t suddenly sound like a different person. It’s pretty obvious when corporate hires an intern to tweet on its behalf.
Don’t be indifferent to major events or issues in the news.
The last circle – the community – is a bit more complex. I suggest starting with a simple relationship audit.
What are your existing relationships?
Who works for you?
Who do you work with?
Who do you interact with in the community?
Next, identify your goals.
Who do you want to create new relationships with and why?
Assuming you want to do more than strengthen existing relationships, you need to keep your eye on the prize at all times. Nothing ever really goes away online. Be careful that what you do today won’t undo your progress tomorrow.
This is a bare bones overview of steps to take while developing a social media crisis prevention plan. We’ll discuss best practices in social media and reacting to crises via social media in future posts. For now, just remember: if more social media managers took diagrams like this into account, far fewer crisis consultants would need to be hired!