If you’re a business owner with an online presence, you know that emergency communications issues can pop up in any organization at any time. And there are few things worse than trying to manage a crisis situation while your online audience escalates the situation. Like any emergency, good and preemptive preparation is a good solution, so we’ve put together five tips to keep you and your team in sync during a crisis communications situation.
1. Be prepared
You shouldn’t wait until a problem rears its head to respond. It can be the little things that trip you up, so have a crisis communications plan in place beforehand so you are prepared when you have to put out the fire. For instance, who is in charge of your social media during a crisis? Do you have multiple accounts handled by multiple people? Do they shut down so your organization speaks with one voice? Making sure everyone is on the same page ahead of time will keep you from creating issues that add to the situation.
2. Secure accounts
We recommend changing your social media passwords every few months or so to ensure the safety of your brand’s social presence. A crisis communications situation is a great time to change your passwords and give limited access to your social accounts. This means leaving it to the professionals to deal with your PR situation so that there are not too many cooks in the kitchen.
3. Listen to your audience
Set up a system that allows you to monitor what others are saying. This way you’ll know when there is a potential crisis and can catch it in early stages. Applications like Hootsuite have social listening tools that can be very useful to monitor conversations. Also consider setting up Google Alerts to notify you of keyword searches relevant to your business.
4. Stop posting, but still engage
It might be a good time to ease up on the social calendar until you’re ready to put out official statements regarding your PR crisis. All eyes are on you, and the best thing to do is engage with your audience. Take time to manage your comments, hashtags, and conversations revolving around your business- but don’t proceed business as usual.
5. Learn from your mistake!
Whether it was an unflattering interview or a faulty product, keep communications open with your external and internal audience. Make sure to follow up with your online community so they know your company understands what happened, how you fixed it and what you’ll be doing in the future to prevent the same mistake from happening. Don’t dwell on this mistake, but learn from it!
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