Years ago, on my first day as a collegiate athletics media relations intern, my boss pulled me aside. He told me on my first day of full-time work, I need to ask to see the crisis communications plan. If they don’t have one, I should volunteer to help create one. He shared with me his own plan. And then suggested I write a crisis communications plan too.
As a communications and marketing expert, please follow this important piece of advice. Start by asking your employer the same question, “Do we have a crisis communications plan?” In this current environment, a crisis can spread across a company’s social media and digital platforms like wildfire. Quickly and at warp speed. It’s almost like gasoline is being poured on each post.
No one can anticipate when a crisis may surface. But by being prepared with a crisis communications plan – you can make a difference.
The crisis management plan should also include a detailed social media response. To assist in what could become a catastrophe, write sample posts and messages ahead of time. To avoid internal issues becoming external, make sure you have a clear social media policy in place.
Start preparing today to incorporate these four tips into your crisis communications plan and company-wide philosophy.
Develop a crisis communications plan and constantly update it.
Don’t wait for a crisis to happen before you hit the panic button. Spend time creating a notebook for each type of crisis. Develop your company’s response before a crisis strikes. And then communicate the action plan. Share it with key stakeholders. It could have a true impact on preparedness and response time when a crisis strikes. Here are eight steps for developing a crisis communication plan.
Need help in creating a crisis communications plan? Bee Young Communications is ready to assist. Reach out to Bee Young Comms today.
Listen Up. A crisis can come out of nowhere.
Listen on social media BEFORE a crisis occurs. If your audience is talking about an issue on social media, regardless of how small the chatter is, take note. Then take action. Remember what was said above about pouring gasoline on a wildfire? Above all, don’t let this happen on your platforms. Identity potential issues early on. Click here for a list of possibilities in terms of listening tools.
Acknowledge the issue ASAP.
Start by acknowledging the issue right away. More than a quarter of crises spread internationally within just one hour. Don’t wait hours or days to communicate a response. This is even if you don’t have a resolution or plan of action. In addition, work to take account of what you sense you know or don’t know. It will help you avoid a lack of response across your platforms.
Don’t limit posts to a single platform.
The same follower on Twitter, may not be the same follower Facebook. Each platform includes a variety of demographics, including age, race, income and education. By only posting your response on one platform, you may be ignoring an important audience.
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Cover photo by Jason Leung