4 Essential Components of a Digital Crisis Management Plan
In our fast-moving, technology-driven age, digital crises can hit at any time. And when they do, they spread quickly, traveling through social media and online news sites more rapidly than ever before. When something goes wrong at your organization, millions of people could hear about it within a matter of minutes. It’s no wonder there is more of a focus on digital crisis management with every passing year.
Consider just a few of the high-profile digital crises that have impacted major organizations this year. The U.S. Marine Corps found itself in the midst of a crisis when reporters learned that Marines had posted explicit photos of female servicemembers on Facebook without their permission. United Airlines faced intense criticism after passengers posted cell phone videos across social media platforms of a man being forcibly removed from a flight. And Pepsi weathered extensive backlash on Facebook and Twitter after debuting a controversial protest-inspired ad on YouTube. (The company removed the ad and apologized less than 24 hours later.)
All of these crises grew and spread incredibly quickly on social media, as countless news agencies and individuals shared and talked about each event around the globe. The immediate nature of sites like Twitter and Facebook allows these stories to evolve rapidly, with people instantly forming their opinions, often before the organization even has a chance to respond or share its side of the story.
As threat volume continues to increase, it becomes more and more vital for organizations like yours to explore digital threats and establish a crisis response plan that accounts for factors such as social media, viral news stories, and digital brand reputation. Traditional approaches to crisis management often are simply not effective for digital threats. That’s why it’s important to focus resources on developing a crisis management plan that can help you keep up with the fastest-evolving threats.
Essential Components of the Plan
As you work to create a modern crisis management plan, be sure to incorporate these four essential components, which are vital for a timely, effective response:
1. Digital technology
A fast-moving digital crisis is not the time to reach for hard-copy plans that are stored in bulky binders or PDF to-do lists housed on your company’s intranet. These traditional methods of crisis planning are simply too slow and inflexible to keep up with social media.
To combat the threats that platforms like social media pose, it’s important to leverage digital technology that can actually keep up. A digital crisis management solution can be used to transform lengthy planning documents into digital playbooks that are sensitive to each user’s role and location, as well as the situation at hand. During a crisis, the platform can provide your team members with instant access to relevant plans, right on their smartphones. The platform even includes real-time alerts and situation reports so that you can ensure your people stay on message and in the loop as the crisis evolves. These features enable your team to respond to a crisis much more quickly and effectively, which allows your organization to better control the situation and achieve a faster resolution.
One of the biggest problems with traditional crisis management plans is their accessibility. When a crisis strikes, it’s often challenging for people to locate the information they need if they have to track down a hard-copy plan, flip through large binders, or scour the company intranet. Considering how quickly today’s digital crises move, you need to ensure your team can access the relevant information right away.
This is another reason why organizations are moving away from traditional hard-copy plans in favor of a mobile crisis solution. The platform enables your team members to access crisis plans, draft statements, checklists, contact details, and other important information right on their mobile phones. This lets them access the data they need at any time and from any location—even if a crisis hits at 10 p.m. on a holiday weekend. A mobile solution also gives them the opportunity to save plans locally on their phones, so they can still access them if a power or network failure occurs.
3. Activation of stakeholders
In the past, you might have had to activate stakeholders, such as your social media team and public relations representatives, through phone calls or emails. During a crisis, this eats up precious time—plus, there’s no guarantee you will reach everyone.
Digitally activating your team with a digital solution is much more seamless. When a crisis strikes, you can instantly notify stakeholders of what is happening using the platform, which ensures that each user receives the notification. Then, as the crisis unfolds, real-time notifications help you keep stakeholders up to speed on the latest.
4. Optimal speed of response
Using a digital crisis management solution to improve accessibility and activation of your plan also allows you to achieve optimal speed of response. A mobile platform enables your team members to react quickly and confidently, with the relevant information in hand, so that they can effectively respond to any type of crisis. This ensures that a viral article or social media gaffe doesn’t get out of control before you have the chance to step in and begin steering the situation.
Build Your Plan
Today’s digital crises travel at the speed of the internet, and it can be a challenge for any organization to keep up. However, you have a chance to utilize powerful mobile technology to ensure a faster, more effective crisis response, which will help you keep your team on message and stay ahead of the story as it evolves.