So, you’re on social media – Twitter, Facebook, and more. That’s good, because the reasons for being on social these days are too many to count. But while most companies have a crisis communications plan in place for traditional media like television and newspapers, few have made the same preparations for the social space.

This can be troubling, especially when considering how fast things travel over social channels. One wrong tweet and you have a crisis on your hands.

While it’s intimidating to consider how quickly things can escalate, your company can and should be prepared for such events by crisis planning with a few simple steps:

Start now
If you wait for a crisis to strike, you won’t have time to get to know the proper social tools that will allow you to respond well. So start now – get to know the lay of the land and build your audience before a crisis has the chance to emerge

Monitor!
Monitoring for mentions of your company in the online space is essential to stay on top of what people are saying – good and bad. It’s also critical in providing a heads up about bubbling issues or potential crises. Make sure each of the following channels are part of your monitoring process:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Blogs
  • Customer networks
  • Google and Yahoo groups
  • Make Social a Part of Your Comprehensive Crisis Plan

  • Social isn’t an island – so incorporate it into the rest of your crisis preparedness.
  • You don’t want to be arguing about jurisdiction as a crisis unfolds, so identify who owns the social media response before a crisis happens.
  • Include a social media policy
  • Video is a major part of all communications these days – so make sure you have a trained spokesperson who’s good on camera. Establish a YouTube channel, and a video crew that can be activated on a moment’s notice.
  • Consult experts to help you prepare your crisis messaging in advance
  • Don’t Forget the Web
    Social channels are all essential—but you can’t leave websites out in the rain. Your company’s website will be a go-to source during a crisis, so ensure you have a plan for fast updates.

    Be Genuine in Your Response
    A social media audience is an engaged audience. If your company is at fault, be sincere and take responsibility for the error. Apologize, and provide a list of the specific actions you’ll take to fix the error and prevent it from happening again. After addressing the issue broadly, give individual attention to key media influencers with personalized responses.

    Do you have any tips for crisis communication in the social space?