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This is Part Three in 'The risk you're not managing.' View Part Two here.
Ignoring social media
For many corporations — especially business-to-business companies who do not interact with the public — social media is still not part of the communications picture and they don’t consider it when planning for a crisis. However, you can expect it to quickly become a primary communications channel if you have a high-profile crisis occur that affects a significant portion of the public. To prepare, you should at least own the social media destinations relevant to your brand, if for no other reason than to ensure someone else can’t grab them and start speaking on your behalf or use them as parody sites. In addition, they can become an important channel for fast, interactive communications if you need that sort of access to the public during a crisis… such as when your message isn’t being communicated clearly through mainstream media.
Failing to drill
A good crisis communications plan sitting on your shelf is useless if no one knows where it is or how to use it. Thus, to make your investment in crisis planning worthwhile, you must train your team on the plan regularly, either via “table top” drills (when you walk through the plan together during a meeting) or actual simulated crisis drills where each team member acts in their prescribed role. Depending on the severity of your vulnerability to crisis and the pace of staff turnover in your organization, that should take place anywhere from quarterly to once every two years.
The bad news for organizations today is that the number and type of potential crises seem to grow by the minute and responding effectively requires considering more stakeholders than ever. The good news is that the tools to manage that risk and the upside for doing so successfully get better every day.
To speak with Pierpont’s crisis communications specialists, contact us here.