The rapid-fire events on social media this week, first with @BurgerKing and now with @Jeep, got me thinking (and dizzy!). Interested in your take. Here are my thoughts.

A crisis doesn’t have to be ‘true’ to be real. Jeep was not purchased by Cadillac and Burger King doesn’t have crack-shooting employees – though both company’s Twitter pages posted these items.  Turns out, genius geeks are hacking into company Twitter pages, just for the fun of it. And it’s causing havoc.

Rapid response is critical. While most people quickly understand these are shenanigans, it does say something about a company that can hit as fast as a geek can throw.  Within an hour of the hacking, Jeep removed the fake logo and within two, removed the offending tweets. Unexplainably, BK took several hours to remove the despicable video.

Crisis response can’t be sihloed. Even though these crises arose in the social media channel, mainstream media the likes of Boston Globe and Chicago Tribune picked up the stories and carried them forward. A good response includes a social media response AND a media holding statement, trained spokesperson, website response and customer communication.

Everyone needs a seat at the crisis communications table. It’s no longer good enough for just the corporate communications team to be ready. What about the IT girls, the digital guys and the social media team? They need to all be engaged.

A crisis often leads to opportunity.  The Burger King incident resulted in 20,000 new Twitter followers for the company. BK could turn these folks into advocates by thanking them for their support and sending them free offers.

It all comes down to this – we’ve entered the era of Real Time Marketing. The positive is the opportunity this lends for brands to proactively engage with their customers – as events happen. The negative (which could be turned into a positive if you were listening) is that we can no longer take time to react. Our response is needed immediately. Are you ready?