Social Media Crises Management Drill

Rick Perry GOP Debate
Rick Perry at a 2011 GOP Debate

Ever wonder how your team will handle a negative issue that hits the media? Maybe you feel you have your bases covered because you are monitoring social media and believe you”know what you are doing”. But what happens when the pooh hits the fan while you are flying from Washington, DC to Sydney, Australia and you are (a) unaware of the issue; (b) unable to respond; and (c) by the time you land if you haven’t acted, it’s too late?

Well, maybe that specific scenario won’t happen to you, but being naive enough to think you’ll be able to fully control a negative media issue alone, or by someone else in your absence is not all too common in businesses today. One of the primary reasons most businesses are unprepared is because their social communities manager or team is typically comprised of younger employees who lack the mature, experienced business know-how needed to respond swiftly, consistently and accurately in a crisis.

So what to do?

Don’t fret… there are many resources on the net for devising a great crisis management plan. The basic steps include:

  1. Monitoring
  2. Triage
  3. Escalation
  4. Notification
  5. Coordination
  6. Responding
Heidi Cohen writes a great article referencing Rick Perry’s recent debate gaffe and his team’s slow response. Her article is a great place to get started.
Additionally, once you have all these great plans in place, you should practice. On the surface, this may sound silly. But here’s what you should do:
  1. Gather up your social media team in a conference room
  2. Inform executives of the drill
  3. Surprise your social media team with an issue that could actually happen. They should not know about it before hand. Try to make it as realistic as possible.
  4. Have to team run through the crisis management plan, including each step… 
  5. Draft up responses, notify the proper channels and get all the approvals for your documents and responses as needed.
  6. Assess how well your team performed, how quickly executives replied and identify any issues.
  7. Once you’ve done a couple drills, I suggest doing one off-hours and seeing how the response time changes. This may help you identify further weaknesses in your plans. Can you handle a disgruntled employee spilling a secret on Twitter for Christmas? Well, it could happen, right?

One response to “Social Media Crises Management Drill”

  1. […] You need to have a crises plan in place ahead of a […]

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