You hear that there’s risk involved with social media marketing, but how can you be sure that this risk directly applies to you and your company or organization? Perhaps you’re wondering just how much risk there could possibly be and how important it is for you to invest in a social media crisis management plan. Or perhaps you think, as many do, that if a social media crisis were to present itself, you have PR and customer service experience (not to mention common sense) and you’ll be able to wing it and sail through it nice and smooth.
The challenge is that social media crises are different from the traditional crises you may have experienced in the past. Things like real-time, two-way communications and virality are all realities that play a dominant role in a social media crisis and can prove to be extremely stressful and overwhelming when unprepared.
Take this questionnaire
The following is a questionnaire that I give to companies and organizations who are on the fence and unsure if investing in a social media crisis plan is truly worth their time, energy and money.
So if you’re on the fence or unsure, go through the following list of questions and if you answer “no” to three or more of them, then your company or organization is currently vulnerable to a social media crisis and you will definitely benefit from investing in a strategic and targeted social media crisis management plan.
Note: The terms “brand”, “company” and “organization” are used interchangeably within this questionnaire.
- Are you currently monitoring the online discussions around your brand?
- Have you identified the red flags that mean your company is under social media attack?
- Have you assessed all potential risk involved with your social media marketing efforts?
- Do you understand what both social media crises and social media issues are and means to your company or organization?
- If a social media crisis struck your organization tomorrow, would you know how to respond?
- Would trending negative criticism about your company risk hurting your brand’s reputation?
- Have you built a loyal online network of brand advocates and supporters?
- In the heat of the moment, would you be able to leverage the help of your loyal brand advocates?
- Do you understand what your fans, customers and market expect of your brand in a social media crisis – and are you prepared to meet those expectations?
- Do you know the secrets to turning a social media crisis into a positive PR campaign for your organization?
- Do your employees understand their roles within a social media crisis?
- Do you have the capabilities and tools to communicate with your entire staff in real-time?
- Do you have a social media crisis spokesperson trained and ready at all times?
- Do you know how to begin regaining control of a social media crisis?
- Do you have the ability and the tools to respond to a social media crisis in real-time?
- Are you aware of the basic rules to reacting and responding to a social media crisis?
- Do you have a thorough, dynamic and strategic social media crisis plan developed that your entire staff practices regularly?
So, how did you do? Did you answer “no” to three or more of the above questions? If so, it may be time to look into investing in a proper crisis management plan that will help protect and prepare your company from online attacks.
What are your options?
Really, you have two options that lay before you:
1- Learn all you can about social media crises and developing a social media crisis management plan.
If you’re the hands-on type of company or organization, I have three resources that will help you accomplish this important task.
- This blog is a great place to start!
- This is a Social Media Crisis Management Toolkit that I’ve created, complete with a “do it yourself” workshop
2- Hire a social media crisis specialist
Someone who understands the risk that the online world presents to your brand and has the expertise and resources to provide your company with a thorough risk assessment, and the development of a targeted and custom social media crisis management plan.
No matter which choice best suits your brand and needs, remember that a social media crisis can strike at any moment and the last thing you want is to be caught unprepared and unprotected.
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.