Business continuity plans serve to outline the various strategies your organization needs to both quickly and effectively recover from a severe disaster, minimizing the negative impact on your productivity.
Continuity planning has a key role in surviving natural calamities, cybersecurity attacks, or even wars. But is it crucial to prepare you for a social media crisis?
It depends. While it’s true that business continuity planning (BCP) is much more useful in case of a hurricane hitting your manufacturing plants or a global pandemic cutting you off your customer base, it can also prove beneficial in the case of a social media PR disaster.
That is because the steps involved in the usual cases it covers can be effectively scaled down to work even with this type of crisis.
BCP Can Help You Determine the Potential Risks Of a Social Media Crisis and Their Impact
Let’s say that you’ve just embarked on building your company’s social media presence. You’re planning to use Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms to build contacts and grow your customer base.
But while you’re doing so, however, you should identify and assess any risks involved in this method of communication. These may involve, among others, slander campaigns, customer outrage over a faulty product line, and even cancel culture due to some perceived slight on your part.
Business continuity planning lets you predict the potential risks to your social media presence and ascertain the level of impact they will have on the continued operation of your business.
To illustrate the point, a single disgruntled employee leaking inconvenient data probably won’t be enough to cause a major disruption in your growth, but if a couple of popular influencers in your niche voice their support of them, you might be looking at a major social media outcry and a case of a consumer boycott.
BCP Helps You Create a Standardized Response Procedure to a Social Media Crisis
Since the number of risks associated with social media presence is too large to be effectively monitored and managed by a single person, you will need to create a standardized response procedure for each one of them, which can be made easier using specialized tools such as Continuity2 – leading business continuity software.
This way, any employee across your business will be able to effectively understand what is going on and quickly take certain measures. For example, the person responsible for handling your social media page won’t likely be in control of responding to the social media crisis.
But because they know the procedures by heart, they can quickly recognize the beginnings of a major PR disaster and stop posting the usual content.
The idea here is that your audience is currently outraged and continuing on as if nothing happened will only serve to antagonize them further. They’ll think you’re ignoring the problem! Fortunately, thanks to BCP, you’ve just avoided a major faux pas.
BCP Lets You Find the Best Solutions to a Social Media Crisis
The standard response procedure you’ve created will also help you determine the best solutions to the problem. Let’s say that your company has just come under fire for some controversial marketing campaign.
And, as is to be expected, the social media users are outraged and their posts are gaining traction. The first true step in BCP would be to delete the offending content and issue a public apology, followed by a promise to take the necessary steps to prevent such incidents from happening again in the future.
Then, you would need to conduct an internal investigation of your marketing department to determine who was responsible for creating this campaign and get your legal team to analyze the potential legal repercussions of the campaign.
In managing a social media crisis, transparency is key. To regain the trust of your audience, you need to be as truthful, forthright, and all-around honest as possible.
That’s the only way to recover your damaged reputation and placate your angry audience. People don’t want PR tricks, they want genuine answers.
However, don’t be too soft when engaging with your followers, as some of them may sense weakness in that and determine that the scale of the problem is much bigger than in reality.
Business continuity planning is a must in today’s business environment. Not only will it help you recover from a natural disaster or a cybersecurity attack, but it can also be the difference between a successful and a failed handling of a social media crisis.
By being proactive and taking the necessary steps to prepare for a social media incident, your company can minimize its negative effects and keep your reputation from being damaged even further.
With a bit of luck, the effort you put into continuity planning will allow you to emerge stronger from this social media crisis, both in experience and maybe even in your audience’s trust. Good luck!