Are You Prepared For a Social Media Crisis?

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    Crisis management and social media are like PB&J

    Ruh roh. A new survey from German consultancy Gartner Communications found that while nearly 85% of companies worldwide have general crisis plans in place (yea!), only 20.7% have social media crisis plans set (boo!). Moreover, while 71% of in-house communicators think social media will become even more important in crisis communications going forward, a staggering 78.6% said they were pretty unprepared or so-so when it comes to social media crises.

    This quote, from a post on B2C Marketing Insider, illuminates a serious problem that continues to affect businesses on a daily basis. It’s astonishing that, even after seeing major global companies go down in e-flames because of their poorly planned or nonexistent social media planning, nearly 80% of communicators are not ready to respond to a social media crisis.

    It’s very simple…when your stakeholders want information, they don’t want to call in and sit on hold, or listen to a droning recorded message; these days they turn directly to social media, specifically Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. Being an active participant on these platforms means that when a crisis breaks, you have the perfect means to make public the fact that you are fielding stakeholder concerns while at the same time communicating your message exactly as intended. In other words, the ideal situation for crisis management.

    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management

    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. , an international crisis management consultancy, and author of Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training.]