Seven Steps to Prepare for a Digital Crisis

September 08, 2017

Crises are inherently digital today. They move lightning-fast, whether it’s a rogue tweet or a national disaster. Have a plan so your organization is ready to nimbly and effectively react. Your plan should help you:

  1. Decide on key roles. Clearly define stakeholder roles to ensure smooth decision-making. Decide ahead of time who needs to review what content. Can you quickly reach decision-makers when a crisis strikes at 3 a.m. on a Sunday?
  2. Answer tough questions proactively. Generate a list of potential criticisms of your organization and your responses. Develop messaging exploring your organization’s vulnerabilities and laying out your responses.
  3. Draft a censorship policy. Hiding offensive comments on social media is sometimes necessary, but draft a clear policy so you don’t appear to censor differing opinions. Create a short policy document explaining that you will hide or block users that post profane, derogatory, graphic, or irrelevant content. Then, if challenged, simply point to your policy. Find more on how to deal with trolling here.
  4. Provide digital staff with message training. Train digital staff so that that they have the same level of message cohesion as the rest of your communications staff. Make sure they understand insights into the potential pitfalls and sensitivities surrounding your work.
  5. Continually monitor the conversation. Set up targeted Twitter feeds and Google alerts around your organization and its issues to make sure you’re on top of breaking news and can respond accordingly.
  6. Run a simulation. Develop a scenario document with discussion questions that will help you and your staff think through how to respond to a crisis.
  7. Increase security on digital accounts. Make sure your passwords are strong and are kept in a secure place that isn’t widely shared. Enable two-factor authentication on all your digital accounts, which sends a passcode to your phone before allowing access. Be careful about letting third-party applications access your account, making sure they are legitimate and necessary.

Need help getting your crisis plan off the ground? The Hatcher Group can work with you as a communications partner from start to finish. Contact us to see how we can help.