While social media continues to mature, it’s still a scary environment for many businesses since it means that prospects, customers and the public have the platforms and tools to amplify their voices with relative ease. Despite this easy access to publishing tools, the reality is that only 1% of the people involved in social media create new content while 90% lurk or consume content and 9% comment or make other minor contributions to existing content. From a corporate perspective, it’s that 1-2% of interactions or comments to which brands and/or companies must respond.
In today’s social media ecosystem, there are three elements that every company should have regardless of whether they’re active on social media networks or not. Given the velocity with which information is shared, it’s critical that your firm is prepared to react quickly and appropriately to changes in the conversation in order to protect your brand and reputation. Here are three recommendations.
- Have social media monitoring in place. This factor was high on marketers’ list of 2011 must haves. Social media monitoring can be an early warning system for your business. As part of your social media monitoring make sure that you’re also tracking words related to your competitors since their problems can quickly spread to your business.
- Implement social media guidelines. Surprisingly, research by SmartBrief for Social Media and Summus, which considers social media guidelines an indicator of social media adoption, found that only half of companies had social media guidelines after three years. This should be a no-brainer as it protects both your firm and your employees.
- Have a crisis management plan in place. Since social media firestorms can occur at any time without notice, it’s important to have a crisis management plan in place. This means more than just the name of a PR crisis management firm. It requires an organized plan with up-to-date names and phone numbers (including personal cellphones.) The reality is that something will occur at a time when no one’s minding the shop; at night, on the weekend or during a holiday. (Here’s a Real-time PR Checklist to help you.)
As a business, are you ready for a PR crisis? Are you prepared if something happens to one of your employees, suppliers, distributors or competitors? Just as airlines repeat their instructions about evacuating the airplane at the beginning of every flight, it’s important for your business to ensure that your employees understand what’s expected of them in a social media emergency.
Does your firm have these three elements in place? If not, what’s holding your firm back?
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