We’ve seen a lot of discussion about Fortune 500 companies using social media as a tool to mitigate risk, with some industries revolutionizing risk management through the application of digital media. But how prepared are organizations for dealing with the spread of a digital crisis gone viral?
We recently completed our Corporate Communication Index 2010 Study, speaking with communications leaders from a select group of the Fortune 500 on the use of social media in their organizations, among other issues. One telling finding was that the majority of organizations are still in the process of formalizing their social media plans, including plans for how they should deal with a viral crisis should it occur tomorrow. With many companies focused on mitigating risk through direct engagement with customers and stakeholders, more companies need to be planning for how they will deal with the dissemination of and syndication of a crisis that hits their business online.
For example, the airline industry understands its digital niche, knowing that the majority of dialogue surrounding their business in the digital realm occurs on Twitter. Delta Air Lines has revolutionized its approach to handling customer service complaints. They established a “control room” where employees can track every word spoken about the company online on big-screen monitors streaming social media platforms in real time. Through a combination of technology and savvy employees well versed in social media strategy, Delta exemplifies the strategic aspects of mitigating risk. However, many businesses are not in a position where there is a clear emphasis on one dominant form of social media communicating messages about their brand online.