It is very important that businesses have risk analysis’s carried out in all their endeavours and digital crisis management plans in place to safeguard the company. A risk analysis is a process that should be done that identifies different factors that may jeopardize the success of a project or achieving specific targets. By carrying out a risk assessment the company can also determine the likelihood of the risk occurring and devise a plan to prevent this risk from happening.

Risks come in different forms and combinations and some risks may even have some benefits for the company so it is important to know what they are:

Risk

Reward

Explanation

HighLowThis applies to a risk that could potentially damage a company’s reputation. If it were to be successful the rewards would be minimal.
LowLowThis could apply to a company displaying messages to certain individuals- the risk would be low but the message would most likely be ignored.
HighHighThis type of risk is normally something a company would do if they needed to push a product- the risk is there as by doing this they could potentially alienate their loyal customers in pursuit of a newer and younger audience. If the risk does pay off then sales may increase exponentially and the company will prosper.
LowHighThis combination of risk and reward are what most companies would like to achieve. This might happen if a company really takes time to craft together a marketing plan understanding their audience’s preferences and what platforms to use to gain the most benefit.

Digital crisis management applies to social media and it is basically a set of guidelines to follow in the event of an unexpected situation that could cast the company in a negative light that could really damage their reputation. Similarly to risk analysis’s, having a digital crisis management plan in place could help you identify factors and help the company minimise that factor from happening altogether. The main difference however is that the risks come in various degrees and digital crisis management plans give guidance on how the business can deal with the risk appropriately.

Explaining the importance of monitoring for risk

It is fundamentally important that companies monitor frequently for risks that may happen and nip them in the bud before the risk spread far and wide and has a serious negative affect on the company and may take a lot of time and effort to get the company back into a positive light again. For example if a customer contacts my company with a serious complaint and nobody responds that person could then spread their frustration to other social media platforms and has the potential to go viral  and unable to contain and if I had responded within good time  and helped them as much as I could and other people saw the effort put in from the company then this disaster could have been avoided- yes the customer would still be annoyed but the customer would not feel like they were being ignored.

Carrying out a risk analysis in relation to social networking for a business

Below is a risk analysis that I will carry out before I post/ oversee a client’s page on their social media channels and what preventative measures I would take to control the incident from becoming an uncontrollable issue:

Risk

Preventative Measure

A dissatisfied customer contacts the company via social media, they are ignored.To prevent this I would have all notifications synced to my computer and mobile devices so that any mentions of my company are effectively monitored. I would also reply to the customer in a friendly and sympathetic tone and help as much as I can and help resolve the issue.
An individual or group of individuals are going out their way to tarnish your companies’ reputation.Again, ensuring notifications are synced and checking the platforms regularly and use tools like Google Alerts to see where my companies name was being mentioned. I would try and contact the individual/group directly and try and resolve the issue and change their perception. Another option that your company can use if you have one is  a brand ambassador/influencer who is on the company’s side  to constantly push your company in a positive light.
Leak of private/personal information online.Only allow certain individuals within the company to have access to sensitive and confidential files. Before sending content have someone check it before it’s published. If it were to be posted online remove the content immediately.
Your social media page gets hacked.To prevent this incident from occurring restrict access to page to one or two members and periodically change the password or store the password using a secure tool such as last pass. Another way to prevent this is to have the platform set an alert to notify you of anyone logging into the page.
A copy-cat profile is claiming to be your company.Firstly, I would write a post to all of my followers warning them of this fake profile, secondly I would write to them asking them to remove the page and lastly I would contact support on whichever social media platform it was and ask them to remove the fake account and then request to have the companies page to be verified with a blue tick if it wasn’t verified already.

Create a digital crisis management plan in relation to social networking for a business

As mentioned before it is fundamentally important to have a crisis management plan in place that gives guidance on how to deal with issues that may arise in a quick and timely manner. By having a plan in place you can also raise the companies profile and maintains the company’s reputation. Below is some helpful advice that you can use for your own digital crisis management plan:

  1. Have a designated crisis management team in place as a precaution. This team can be as small/ large as you need depending on your companies side- you can also employ people from outside the company to tackle any bad light your company receives.
  2. Monitor social mentions/ conversations concerning the company or individuals belonging to the company Checking notifications and social media monitoring tools regularly to see who is mentioning us and where the conversation is taking place so we can go to the site and respond in a quick and timely manner. Also watch out for any mentions on TV as well as social media.
  3. Listen to what your customers are saying.Take on board what customers are saying and let them know that they are being heard, by responding you are showing them that the company cares about its customers and that they are being taken seriously.
  4. Respond in a timely manner. If you cannot respond instantly ensure all complaints are dealt with within 24 hours no longer as this could be taken by the customer that you are ignoring them.
  5. Know how to talk to your customers. How you respond to your customer is important- they want to be assured that you are doing your best to help them and are genuine, so always be polite and don’t take any nasty comments made to you personally.
  6. Have brand ambassadors/ influencers briefed on what you expect of them when negativity falls on the company. By educating your brand ambassador/ influencers on how to deal with these types of situations is a good way to ensure they stay on message and do not feel too overwhelmed. Also have them engage with people who are spreading negativity this can prevent them from wanting to spread it further. A great offense is the best defence.
  7. Monitor more frequently after a crisis has happened. Monitor more frequently and go through social mentions with more precision.
  8. Have a blog/ forum that informs people of why a possible issue may have happened. This makes the company appear to be open and transparent with their customers by opening up and not trying to hide their mistake. By doing this the company will be humanizing their company voice and a more genuine source.

So what do you think? Do you think your company needs a digital crisis plan? If your company does not have one why not? Has this article made you think otherwise. Let us know in the comments below.