Are you a firefighter, arsonist or a tree?

Mon, Sep 14 2015

Attending a recent talk on the importance of planning certainly reinforced for me that preparation is key when dealing with a social media crisis.

The guest speaker was Nicole Matejic, decorously known as ‘social firefighter’ at consultancy Social Media Monster, as well as being CEO of a global military think tank, social media trainer and an adviser to NATO and governments around the world.

According to Matejic, “the plan is to have a plan before you need a plan.”

After all, how are you to put out a social media fire if you have no equipment and water? How do you prevent yourself and your business from creating the spark that will set you alight? And when you are in the heat of the crisis, how do you know you are not going to add fuel to the fire without even realising it?

It may be a scary thought, but due either to inaction or wrong actions, the majority of organisational crises actually result from within.

Nicole Matejic recommends first identifying what a business’s pain points are, in order to plan and map an organisation’s risk for all scenarios, and then to plan the contingency communications accordingly.

She advocates planning to break your own bad news, but early and sincerely, and before the media come calling. By being able to quickly deliver crisis-orientated content that genuinely addresses your crisis in an accessible and responsible way, you are best placed to control your online narrative.

She also suggests using your social media data to plan for how you will communicate during a crisis. As part of the social media crisis plan, organisations should actively monitor what their audience’s sentiment is and what is being said about the company, the brand, or their products.

Without a social media crisis plan, you run the risk of being lit at the leaves and burning down to your roots. So be the firefighter in your business and acquire as much protection and fire-dousing skills as possible.

Author: Shari Tyrrell, Sefiani Contributor

Read more of Shari's work on the Sefiani blog

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