One of the most important activities in defining a conversation strategy in social media is identifying and assessing possible risks. This makes sure that stakeholders are prepared to act quickly and correctly when a crisis hits social channels.

At We Are Social, this activity is part of the process of defining people, processes and platforms, that's mandatory for every well-structured conversational project. Every single little thing that can be planned before a crisis actually happens, increases the chance of containing it successfully when it does happen. As Nathan has previously outlined, when a crisis happens there are important actions you should take, but if you are prepared, they can be implemented in a quicker, easier and more effective way.

Community management - a fundamental connection between brands and people

As you can see from the visual above, it's very important to involve community managers in the crisis management process, because they're the ones who manage a significant part of the direct contact between the brand and the public. Altimeter recently published a report that describes this process in four phases:

  1. Identify possible risks
  2. Assess possible impacts
  3. Manage
    - Create a decisional workflow
    - Define responsibilities
    - Identify resources
    - Protect people and company with adequate policies
    - Train employees on the boundaries of their work
    - Implement the right tools
  4. Monitor and evaluate

If you are to be able to decide effectively which actions to take in reaction to a crisis are better or worse, you need to evaluate the possible risks beforehand. Here's how Altimeter ranks possible risks, defining them by likelihood and impact.

Going back to Nathan's advice, in order to manage a social media crisis, you need to follow six steps:

  • Listen
  • Be open
  • Take action
  • Reach out
  • Be consistent
  • Be prepared

For more in-depth analysis, have a read of Altimeter's report (and Jeremiah Owyang's comments) which details a process to manage potential crisis in social media, even before they take place.