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    Women Business Leaders: Do You Have a Social Media Crisis Plan?

    Using social media to respond to a crisis is timely and effective, but your response must be deliberately managed and controlled. A well thought-out crisis plan should not only inform your audience that you care – it should also pay attention and respond to online conversations.

    As a woman business leader and entrepreneur, it’s up to you to make sure you retain control of the messaging your business puts out there. In an article by Chris Syme titled, “Got Crisis? Get a Social Media Mindset,” she outlines the three elements of a social media crisis plan:

    Transparency
    According to Chris, transparency doesn’t mean your company should expose all its warts to the public. Rather, it means making the effort to be open and show a willingness to communicate, even in times of crisis. Chris notes that “silence is a sign of negligence, whether we like it or not.” Be prepared to have an open dialogue even when you would prefer to say “no comment.”

    Honor immediacy
    Basically, you need to be prepared for an emergency or crisis so that you have a well-crafted and sensitive response to situations that could be difficult or stressful. The time to craft these statements is not when you or your business is in the midst of a crisis, however. Chris also notes that even if you don’t have all the information, it’s better to say you are trying to find out rather than offer no statement at all. A timely, “we are looking into it now,” shows that at the very least, you acknowledge the situation and are concerned.

    Remember it’s not about you
    Chris notes that this is the hardest concept for companies facing a crisis to understand. “When you have herds of media knocking at your door,” says Chris, “it’s hard to remember that the public really doesn’t care about you.” They want to know what happened and what you are going to do about it.  Think about the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and how BP mishandled the early responses.

    Planning for a potential crisis is key. Having a response ready will give you a moment to regroup while showing the online community you care. Protecting your brand requires thought and planning, especially today. Here are a few of my favorite blogs on protecting your brand: “Social Media Branding Mistakes Women Business Leaders Should Avoid,” and “6 Ways Women Business Leaders can Protect Their Brand.”

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