What if a crisis strikes your organization and just as you begin communicating and updating your audience via your preferred social media channel (e.g.: Twitter) it crashes and you’re left incapable of reaching that desired audience – your key stakeholders?
Do you have a social media crisis communications back-up plan?
All sorts of things can happen. From Twitter Jail and the big Twitter Fail Whale, to a platform crashing, being hacked or even going under and ceasing to exist. Social media platforms are our crisis communications tools, but they’re also out of our control. They aren’t platforms that we own, but borrowed space which therefore comes with its own sets of rules and risks. It’s your responsibility to evaluate these risks and plan for them within your crisis communications plan.
The Calgary Police recently experienced being put in unexpected Twitter Jail and were quick to find an alternative solution to continue communicating with their audience throughout the floods. Would your crisis team be as quick to think of a viable solution? Why not plan for it in advance and be ready with alternative plans?
Tips and inspiration to get your social media crisis communications back-up plan started
- Have several Twitter accounts set up, each for their own crisis communications purposes
- Use the same hashtags across all communications platforms to make it easier for your stakeholders to jump on another account and continue getting updates
- Cross link your social channels so that people can easily follow you from more than one platform
- Have a page on your corporate website – whether in your media section, news room or elsewhere – that lists all of your brand’s social platforms and details their functions
- Have a “home base”, of which you have complete control (i.e.: a blog or dark website), where you publish all information and updates throughout the crisis (social media should be used as a tool to distribute the updates from this platform)
- Have a useful mobile app as one of your crisis communications platforms/tools
This is one more category of risks to plan for within your crisis plan. The better you plan and prepare, the better you enable your team to manage a crisis in real-time and with minimal repercussions to your brand’s reputation and bottom line.