In this era of social media and mobile devices, news spreads faster than ever before. The web has removed control from those who create content and a crisis can develop in seconds.
This is why it is vital that companies have an on-line crisis management strategy in place – long before it is ever needed.
When developing an online strategy, we must understand the ethics and rules of digital media and how crisis management on-line may differ from that off-line.
According to Chris Norton online crisis management can be separated into three stages – pre-crisis, crisis response and post-crisis evaluation. An online crisis typically creates a spike in comments, shares and engagement, the conversations around which are generally negative. During this crisis, it is essential to monitor and track what is being said and respond immediately.
An online crisis typically creates a spike in comments, shares and engagement, the conversations around which are generally negative. During this crisis, it is essential to monitor and track what is being said and respond immediately.
When putting together a strategy to deal with on-line crisis, the following should be included:
- Those who will form part of the crisis management team.
- Pre-draft templates for on-line content – these can be pre-approved by legal teams to speed up their delivery.
- The communication channels to be used.
- An outline of how people can and can’t behave across on-line communication channels.
Finally, a crisis management strategy should have a strong focus on internal communications. Those associated with the party will need to know what happened, what they should do and how the crisis will affect them.
All information regarding the crisis should be shared and updated regularly with all those who communication on behalf of the company to ensure all outward communication is consistent.
It may be impossible to pre-empt every online crisis, but we can certainly make sure we’re prepared for when one does occur and that the right procedure is followed.