Posted by Renee Schmidt

Reality check –imagine you’re having a Social media PR crisis… now what?

It’s Monday morning; you go to check your email. Email one; it’s your Webmaster (who also serves as your Media Director). You find out that over the weekend he’s suddenly become afflicted with amnesia! Not to worry, it is obviously not severe; he still remembers how to email. Hmm. Weird!

But wait –there are deadlines. Your company newsletter needs to go out! And on top of this you find out that one of your employees accessed the company Twitter (thinking it was their own); tweeting out a message they thought was private (stress)! What do you do?

Coding for Dummies is certainly an option (who needs a Webmaster anyway?)! But by the time you figure out your own login information to delete the tweet it’s too late! A tweet about an under arm rash was already been re-tweeted 100 times!

Trusting the capability and dependability of employees to do a great job is good. It means that you aren’t a control freak, so likely, your office environment and workers are relaxed. Relaxed is good because people cannot work productively in a chronically stressful job environment. But what happens when your Media Director catches amnesia, and your employee tweets about a rash, and it’s been re-tweeted?

Here is a solution! Take control!

Both you and or your intern (wink) should be knowledgeable and have access to what your Media Director (or anyone else for that matter) does.

Firstly, make sure you have a basic backup plan to avert a media crisis! Have your webmaster, head of IT, or your in-house developer determine who will be responsible for coming up with a solution in case of a crisis. As a second line of defense, assign the responsibility to an intern. Lastly, act on your own behalf as the third line of defense!

As CEO or company head, know that business is like politics and a single negative rumor gone viral can change your business forever. That said, you must know not only your social media inside and out: how to tweet, use hash tags, etc., you must also know how to use links (both learning how to create/add them to your company’s website).

As a crisis ensues, be decisive! You’ll have to quickly update/correct data in your Twitter, your blog and your website! Be courageous enough to post a clear statement on your website. If there is anything the public distrusts, its 1. inaction; and 2. vague public statements.

Even without your Media Director, know that you can handle a company crisis (preparation and forethought are key!). It only takes basic technical skills and a bit of wisdom to do so. Remember what Sun Tzu said: “The best victories are those that are won without wars having to be fought.”

Image [via]