Let’s be honest, every company can face a social media crisis at any time. If it hasn’t happened yet, it may come to you sooner or later.
A comprehensive communications toolkit today cannot be complete without a blog, so it is quite right to ask: How can a blog be part of your contingency plan?
Here are 5 things to keep in mind:
- Create a social media policy and crisis management manualSince information in social media runs really fast, you never know when a crisis will hit you: an employee saying something inappropriate, a community manager making an unfortunate statement, a product failure occurs, or an advertising campaign makes a false claim.The first step to crisis prevention is to have a solid social media policy for your employees and a crisis management manual. This will allow you to prevent situations and react fast once the crisis begins.
- Quick responseYour blog is as important as your other media and social media channels. In this case even more so. Since you control your blog, you can use it to publish your holding statement or first “official” response to a crisis in the shortest time among all channels. This prevents others from speaking first on your behalf. Reassure your followers and closest community that you’re actively working on the issue.Use your blog as your company’s voice when you can’t reach everyone quickly through other channels. On your own blog, you don’t need to shorten or select your messages to fit to character limits or other criteria, as you do with external media platforms. Also, people who follow blogs take more time to read blog posts than social media users who just scroll down on the newsfeed.Extra advice: When using your blog to publish your statement, choose your words wisely and make sure to include some keywords in the headlines and posts. It helps your text rank higher in search results on the subject.
- UpdatesRegular updates on your blog can be useful in keeping employees, customers, the media and the general public informed about new developments. Most crisis managers know it’s important to show that even if you have not yet resolved the crisis, you’re working to solve it.
- Media relationsYour blog can provide critical information to the media, as well as links to press releases, fact sheets, FAQs, photos, video, and everything else a reporter needs if they can’t reach a spokesperson. You can do the desk research for them and provide the most important links and facts in one place via your own blog. This will help lead them to the direction you want them to go.
- Post-crisisCrises generally receive the most attention during the initial phases. While the crisis itself tends to be covered widely, the way it was resolved attracts less attention. However, your customers, your employees, the media and the public-at-large all need to be informed that you handled the crisis well. They need to be reassured that they are safe, and that they can trust you to do the right things now and in the future. Your blog again proves to be the best channel to convey this message: anybody browsing your company’s page will see it, so even if the media does not report on the positive resolution, your blog will reach those who care about you; the blog can also serve as a for-the-record report on the aftermath; and again you are not limited by space or attention span to express your thoughts and highlight your efforts and standpoint.
Just like in normal times when your blog serves as your most honest and credible voice, you’ll find it to be your best channel of communication when a crisis situation puts your communications preparedness to a hard test.