When you create your online marketing campaign, it’s likely that you are concerned with the who, what, when, why and where. However, it’s very possible that you’ve forgotten about a minor detail – creating your online marketing crisis plan. What is this, you ask? Online marketing crisis plans are put into place as a safety net; when something goes wrong, your crisis plan will already made – a backup plan of sorts.
“I’ve learned that while you can’t avoid unexpected emergencies, you can impact the way you work through a disaster. Regardless of industry, thriving during crises depends on how prepared and protected you are.” – Entrepreneurs Organization
When writing up your plan, consider the following.
Before starting your back-up plan, you’ll need to brainstorm what might go wrong. When Facebook decided to go public, they, along with every other company who goes public, had to write a list of things that could potentially go wrong after their IPO. While Facebook may have been following standard procedure, it’s a smart business move no matter who you are. With a focus on your online marketing efforts, ask yourself where you see problems arising. For example:
- Spam hack on your Twitter or Facebook account
- Bad comments on your social media sites
- Bad PR
- Negatively received blog post
- Bad/inappropriate video leaked
Part of your plan should include regular management of your networks and public communications. This means checking your social media outlets every day. You want to look for bad comments, potential problem areas, angry customers, bad rumors, etc.
Some call this type of social media monitoring Online Reputation Management. XDWebSolutions.com defines it as, “… Listening to the buzz about your business online and taking action if/when necessary, especially for damage control.” When you are walking the walk, and talking the talk, it makes fixing a problem that much easier. Not to mention you’ll be faster to respond.
Handling The Situation
Once you’ve identified your potential pitfalls or crisis situations, it’s time to address how you’ll handle them – this is the most important part of your plan. These solutions will of course vary from company to company, however there are four basic questions you want to address.
- What will be the immediate response?
- How will you communicate with a potential nay-sayer or offender?
- Will press be involved? How do you plan to handle that?
- Bad information? How can you get it corrected?
The Go-To Team
Finally, it’s critical that you spell out the team of people who will come together to take care of these potential issues. In the case of an emergency, it’s this team that will jump to action – no questions asked. When there is no hesitation about who needs to take control, the fire is put out much faster. This is where you’ll want to spell out whose job is whose.
- Someone to manage PR
- Someone to react immediately
- Someone to repair the problem
- Someone to get involved with customer questions, concerns and comments
- Someone to prepare a retraction, statement, etc
As a business, it’s important to have your online marketing plan in place. However, it may be just as critical to include a thorough online marketing crisis plan. The world of online marketing can be both good and bad. The good: you reach an abundance of customers. The bad: word spreads fast. So, when your marketing plan includes the necessary marketing solutions, you can be ready to take on anything.