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Documentation, Crisis Management, and Agility: Tips for Building Your Social Safety Net

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“Shared responsibilities make your social presence safer and better.” — Jenny Blanco, Senior Strategist, Strategic Services, Khoros

Join us for #SMWONE May 5 - 28, 2020 and hear from 300+ speakers across 150 sessions.


Today, social media “standards” are far from standard. These guidelines and procedures need to be agile and flexible enough to be revised at a moment’s notice to keep up with the speed in which social media, and therefore consumers, operate.

During their #SMWONE session, Christy Kirby and Jenny Blanco from the customer engagement platform Khoros detailed the people, protocols and processes needed to put in place to create your social safety net, in order to effectively make “empowered decisions at the speed of social,” as Christy noted.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Shared responsibilities make your social presence safer and better
  • Agility is essential to an effective crisis management plan
  • Don’t discredit the value of frequent documentation

It takes a village

While brands traditionally have people directly serving its social media audience, working on writing, publishing, and engaging with the social community, there are also people and departments needed to review, or flag, certain posts, or potential pieces of content. This helps to “protect your brand,” says Blanco, and ensures that there are other teams in place to get involved at the right time.

“Shared responsibilities make your social presence safer and better,” says Blanco. Creating this internal web helps to protect against certain things like security fraud, which an IT team or security team can assist with. If companies don’t have too many departments or are smaller in scale, team members can wear different hats, so long as all relevant roles are still covered and all boxes are checked. Plus, third party consultants and groups are there – like Crisis PR firms – to assist and be a part of the overall social safety net when needed.

In terms of security, social accounts, as Kirby notes, are the “biggest vulnerabilities companies can take an active role in fixing.” She suggests having a primary and secondary owner of all account creation and passwords, updating passwords monthly in apps like LastPass, and making them complex. It’s also important to involve legal counsel (internal or external) to ensure that necessary regulations and laws are followed.

Documentation is key

Once the key people and safety standards are established, it’s important to form – and document – ongoing processes and workflow. “You essentially need to create SOPs for updating your SOPs,” Blanco notes to ensure that the process runs smoothly for all involved. She recommends auditing your crisis and safety plans on a quarterly or annual basis and having a paper trail. “Your operating procedures will only be as valuable and accurate as your approvers to approve them,” says Blanco.

Don’t be too descriptive

Once the people and roles are outlined, it’s important to create a crisis management plan that is both flexible and agile. “A crisis management plan is never finished,” says Blanco. Aside from the roles and responsibilities once a crisis arises, it’s also important to establish a workflow of what different people need to do if and when a crisis does arrive. “Workflows are the most important part of a crisis plan,” Blanco adds.

But where does a workflow start? Establish the right content and resources available to provide to customers in a crisis, and then training and practicing this plan with teams help to optimize the plan and help others adapt. If something does happen, you might not have the perfect e-mail or response crafted, but you can have a communication channel set up between employees and customers in order for them to know the “single source of truth,” to trust during this time.

With platforms like Khoros, companies can have brand quality control that protects controls access, especially so that all processes are pre-approved and compliant.

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