Businesses Inviting Crises By Not Using Social Media for Crisis Management

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    Over 50% of respondents in a recent poll still not using social media for management

    Living and breathing crisis management as we do, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that most organizations simply are not up to date or proficient when it comes to the tools and tactics they’re relying on to carry them out of an ugly situation.

    This summer, PwC US surveyed businesses to determine how they are planning and preparing for crisis management, and of course, social media was a hot topic. Here’s a quote:

    According to PwC’s survey, more than half of the respondents – 57 percent – do not officially use social media as a crisis management resource. For companies that have begun integrating social media into their crisis management efforts – Facebook and Twitter cited the most often – not all are seeing improvement in their capabilities. Thirty-eight percent of survey respondents are modestly leveraging it as a tool, but not necessarily seeing improvements in their capabilities, whereas eight percent of respondents believe that social media has become an enabler for their organization to proactively identify and respond to crisis events.

    We’d like to address a couple of points here, starting with the majority of organizations that still do not use social media as a crisis management resource. To be frank, if you’re not at least monitoring for mentions of your name and associated keywords online, you must really want trouble. There are several entirely free and automated tools that can do this for you. Not using them is the social media equivalent of removing the batteries from all of your smoke detectors.

    That point leads us right to the companies that are “modestly leveraging” social media as a crisis management tool, but not seeing improvements. What this response is indicative of, more than anything, is a lack of understanding as to A) how to set up social media for crisis management and B) how to use the information that’s being pulled in.

    Like any new tool, social media requires planning, training, practice, and preparation in order to make use of it to your full advantage. Put the time in and you’ll reap the benefits; half-ass things and you could easily join the ranks of respondents saying they don’t see any difference.

    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 Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is the Social Media Manager for the firm, and also the editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]