Practical tips to get you social media crisis ready
Here on the Briggs Communications blog we’ve posted a number of articles recently about bringing social media to life in your organisation. We’ve been keen to talk about how important it is to put robust strategic planning around social media use; to get the most from it as a communication tool, and to minimise associated risks. Read more about these topics in our articles: Strategic advice on social media policy, Social media in communications strategy for PR, and Define your corporate voice with social media policy. Today we’re building on these foundations with some practical tips to get you social media crisis ready.
Social media platforms and crisis communications interlink in a number of ways that are relevant to public relations professionals. In our article Social media in crisis communications we talked about how they can be used as an effective communication tool in crisis communications for disaster response. We’ve discussed how important it is for communications practitioners to develop a strong social media policy to contribute to preventative measures in crisis management planning. So, what about when you’ve prepared all these foundations for your organisation with rigorous strategy and planning, but things still go wrong?
Crises often come as a surprise, and social media crises are especially fast-moving. The critical two-hour window for effective crisis response reduces to a fraction of that time if it happens on social media platforms. Murphy’s Law is bound to contribute too, ensuring that a situation escalates at the most inopportune time. When the web team is away on a conference, your manager has gone fishing in the remote bush, and the tech guys have left for the night, you may need to respond without their help to contain a crisis situation.
When a PR crisis begins – or escalates – on social media, public relations professionals should be prepared with some basic, practical skills that might be needed to effectively manage the situation. When things go wrong, sometimes the most trivial or basic factors can unravel an otherwise comprehensive plan. So, here are our practical tips to help you get social media crisis ready…
Equip yourself with basic technical skills so you can confidently:
- Know the relevant login details for each account, or for your social media dashboard.
- Upload videos, photos, audio files, and responses to YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook etc.
- Alter page design and settings for each platform.
- Know the accepted file size and resolution for each platform.
- Use widgets to stream feeds from your social media accounts to your organisation’s website.
- Update or upload new content to your organisation’s blog.
- Create and edit links on your website, blog, or social media platforms
- Give a brief to on-call service providers – like graphic designers or web-developers – that you might need to engage to help manage the crisis.
Finally, rehearsal is the most important thing to ensure these tips work for you. Make sure you’ve tested yourself on these basic points in real time. It’s no use doing them for the first time when you’re under pressure trying to contain a crisis situation.
Briggs Communications believes that preparedness is the most powerful mitigating factor in responding to a social media crisis. If, despite preventative measures, your organisation experiences a social media crisis, at the very least these tips will help you to get social media crisis ready.
Co-authored by Briggs Communications and Astrid Leslie