Your social media crisis plan, in all of its importance, is not something you want to prepare once, file away and then forget about. It’s something that should remain top of mind for your entire staff – especially those who play a role within your social media crisis team. Though this is not something that happens naturally, through all of your daily duties and busy schedules, it’ll take a conscious effort for your crisis communications plan to remain top of mind.
The more it remains top of mind, the better your entire team will handle and overcome a crisis once it presents itself to your organization – and this is one skill you want your entire staff to acquire and hold onto.
Revise, review and practice your social media crisis plan at least yearly
Now this is a bare minimum. For enterprise level organizations, non-profits and those with a popular social media presence, your social media crisis plan should be revisited semiannually or quarterly and your crisis team should run regular practices.
In addition to this, your crisis communications plan should be revised each time:
There’s a change within your internal stakeholders
There are elements within your social media crisis plan that need to be revised and reviewed each time new employees join or leave your team (including training of new staff for their role within a crisis), when there’s a change within your board of directors or any other internal stakeholder change that takes place for your organization.
There’s a change within your external stakeholders
This can be a change in suppliers, investors, referral services, community leaders, an acquisition of a new major client or partnership, or any other change within external stakeholders.
Whether it’s internal or external, traditional or social media, each time your organization faces a crisis, the entire situation needs to be analyzed and documented and then used to solidify your crisis communications plan. This should be followed by an internal meeting or workshop held to review the entire situation, its outcome and the changes made to your crisis plan, with all internal stakeholders present.
As you adapt new social media guidelines, strategies and platforms for your social media marketing efforts
As platforms, trends and marketing strategies change, your risk assessment and crisis communications plan will need to be assessed and revised accordingly.
The launch of a new product, service or campaign
The same goes for the launch of a new product, service or campaign.
Revising, reviewing and practicing your social media crisis plan should include a minimum of the following:
- Risk assessment and prevention plans
- Triage protocol
- Contact flow chart
- Crisis communication platforms (including social media platforms, internal communication platforms, website, blog, news wires, etc) and how they will be used within a social media crisis
- Social media crisis practice drills
The more practice and emphasis your organization puts on the importance of your social media crisis plan, the better you will handle a crisis when it presents itself to your brand. It is in your organization’s best interest to make the effort to keep your crisis communications plan at the top of each of your employees minds.
How often does your organization revise and practice your social media crisis plan, and what would you add to this list?
Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, Melissa Agnes is a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection. Agnes is a coveted keynote speaker, commentator, and advisor to some of today’s leading organizations faced with the greatest risks. Learn more about Melissa and her work here.