Is It Time To Practice Your Social Media Crisis Plan?

social media crisis practice drillWhat do you do when you finish creating or updating your social media crisis plan? (and please don’t tell me you don’t have one yet!) Do you say “phew, it’s done!” and file it away for a rainy day? If so, you’re leaving yourself – and your company – open to a whole bunch of risks that will only materialize on that rainy day. Kind of defeats the whole purpose, doesn’t it!

The creation, and even the updating, of your online crisis plan is only the first step. The only way to make sure that nothing was missed, side-stepped, unrealistically planned or outlined, is by going through the completed document page by page, procedure by procedure with every member of your online crisis team, at the very minimum.

Simulations are the best way to practice, but not every company is prepared to undergo a really good simulation. But that doesn’t mean that practices, drills and/or run-throughs are not completely within your means or of any less importance. Before you file that highly important document away in a drawer (which, seriously, you shouldn’t be keeping it in a drawer, but in a secure online file-sharing platform of some sort, ready to be opened and read at any time of the day or night, by any member of your online crisis team), sit down with your team and go through the entire document. Pose questions, practice real potential scenarios and work together, even if just verbally on the step by step processes needed to be taken in order to detect that threat in real-time (even if it surfaces at 2am on a Saturday night), respond to it, regain control of  it and resolve the entire issue with little to no damaging repercussions to your business’s reputation or bottom line.

And guess what! Every time you update the document (which, with the way technology and platforms emerge so regularly and sporadically these days, should be a few times a year) get together and run drills and practice some more!

Just like you wouldn’t hit “publish” on a post, web page or social media interaction without first reading it through and thinking of all angles (I hope), don’t consider your social media crisis plan to be compete without first testing it out.

What’s your next step?

Open your calendar, schedule a time and a place to practice your online crisis plan and invite all the right people to attend and participate… right now!

Test your team with realistic and safe crisis simulations

Melissa Agnes Crisis Management offers crisis simulations and trainings in order to realistically test your crisis team, frontline employees and senior executives with safe and extremely valuable crisis simulations. If this is a service that interests your team, contact us today for more information.

Melissa Agnes is an international crisis management keynote speaker and consultant. President of the crisis management firm Agnes + Day, Melissa has developed a worldwide reputation for crisis management, planning and training by helping global brands and government agencies prevent and manage a wide range of issues and crises. She is also the editor of The Crisis Intelligence Blog and host of The Crisis Intelligence Podcast.

2 Comments. Leave new

Good, timely article. It seem too many people overlook this aspect of crisis management.

… but don't forget social media is only one part of your overall crisis plan, and they need to be tested together? For example, have you tested the business risk escallation process, which gives you the authorisation to invoke the social media crisis plan.


Yes, social media is only part of the plan, of course. The online aspect of crisis management, response, communications and training are my specialty, which is why I write solely about them.

However, I disagree that a crisis team should need "authorization" to invoke the online crisis plan. Online is real-time and happens fast (to put things lightly). You need to be able to react and respond as soon as a situation comes about – or risks coming about. That's why it's important to have a team of trained and responsible adults who understand every aspect of the brand's online crisis management, are always alert and work closely with the global and regional crisis teams.


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