Avoiding Pain

Sections of this topic

    Get engaged and get protected

    As with many other aspects of crisis management, businesses are hesitant to invest in social media strategies because the returns are often difficult to quantify. Get caught up in a Web-based crisis, though, and you’ll be thanking your lucky stars for the protection. In a post on the SmartBlog social media blog, Rob Birgfield summed up tips given by several panelists at last year’s BlogWorld Expo, including this one regarding the value of being engaged in social media:

    Return on Investment? How about Return on Avoiding Pain? While many companies are looking to measure return on investment by looking at improved sales, greater operational efficiencies, etc., we often ignore social media’s crisis management benefits until it’s too late. Dallas Lawrence reminded attendees to invest in social media for what he calls a “return on avoiding pain.” To stop a crisis in its tracks, you have to have a presence and an ear to the ground. Lawrence cited United Airlines as an example. In 2008, when an archived story announcing the airline was filing for bankruptcy got picked up by Bloomberg – the story took off, made its way around the blogosphere and sent the stock tumbling. In the traditional sense, United did nothing wrong. But if they were appropriately monitoring — and consequently addressing the misinformation, the airline could have averted what turned out to be a true disaster.

    Having a presence in the social mediaverse is like insurance for your reputation. Unlike insurance, though, social media is useful during good times as well, be it for marketing, communication, or monitoring stakeholders and the competition, making it well worth the investment.

    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.]