Last week I spoke on “How to Lead Your Organization’s Social Media Messaging in a Crisis” during PRNews’ Digital Summit in Huntington Beach. Here are some key points from my remarks and those of my fellow presenters at Crisis Management Boot Camp:
Download the PDF version here: 8 tips from Crisis Boot Camp
- Be ready — and few are. Only 50 percent of companies have a ready-to-go crisis plan — and only 5 percent of those have a designated response team. A plan only helps if people are assigned and trained in advance to do the work, and there’s a lot of work to manage.
- Assess your risk. Measure the crisis on a scale of one to 10. Not every crisis requires a 10 response. Check out OWC’s Crisis Response Risk Assessment Tool.
- Prepare emergency “holding statements.” A major crisis breaks fast, and a response needs to go out within an hour and a half. A holding statement is the company position on a potential threat or foreseeable emergency. Think it through before it happens. “Semper paratus” (“always ready”).
- Don’t leave your fate in the hands of outside web developers. In a crisis, people will check your website. Do you have a person in your office who has the access and training to upload changes to your site? Most don’t, but you can change that today. It’s easy with a modern content management system such as WordPress.
- Be timely and ready to go on camera. Are you prepared to respond with a YouTube or Facebook Live video within 90 minutes of a crisis breaking? Especially if the source of the crisis is itself a video, you must respond through the appropriate platform and be prepped like a seasoned pro.
- Social strategy is media strategy. Sixty-two percent of U.S. adults get their news from social media, and 18 percent do so frequently. So, bad news travels even faster. Monitor social so you know immediately when you’re being discussed in blogs and on Facebook and Twitter. Here at OWC we use Hootsuite and Google Alerts.
- Robots aren’t just driving our cars. They’re now a part of newsrooms. The Associated Press has a robot that takes information from SEC filings and press releases and automatically produces wire reports on earnings that are completely devoid of context and nuance. It’s now more important than ever for organizations to expand on sparse news reports with a more complete message through company-controlled platforms.
- We’re all in the data business. What would a data breach mean to your clients, customers, employees and how quickly would the news spread and on what platforms? In a breach, IT will be too busy to help. Management needs a plan.
Crisis comes just when things seem to be going so well. We all heard about the Oscars Sunday night. We’ll see in real time how Uber deals with the self-inflicted blows to its image and brand. Three out of five CEOs believe corporate brand and reputation represent more than 40 percent of their market capitalization which is why crisis preparation and response is a bottom-line job.