Be Prepared For Facebook Emergencies

No matter how judicious brands are when it comes to protecting themselves against social media emergencies, they are bound to happen.

No matter how judicious brands are when it comes to protecting themselves against social media emergencies, they are bound to happen.

As Social iQ Networks Co-Founder and CEO Devin Redmond said during “Protect Your Brand Pages,” a panel at the AllFacebook Marketing Conference in New York Wednesday, there are too many Facebook pages and other social media accounts owned by or connected to brands, too many people with administrator privileges, and too many applications granted permission to access those social media accounts.

In addition to trying to prevent social media emergencies in the first place, consulting firm Ticular recommends that brands formulate plans of action to be prepared when they do occur, and be sure the appropriate employees know exactly how to respond, and how to do so quickly.

Ticular wrote in a post on its blog:

Google a phrase like “social media outcry,” and you’ll see hundreds of headlines dated within the past 24 hours about the latest nightmare for public relations executives.

The controversies usually follow this pattern: Something is posted on a social network that probably didn’t need to there in the first place, and it spreads like wildfire before the subject of the post — or those representing it — responds.

Too often, the response comes too late because the poster needs to obtain approval from someone higher up on the food chain.

In an ideal world, the original offending post would be prevented from going up in the first place. While that’s wishful thinking, the next best thing is doable: a nearly instant response made possible by preapproved templates designed for emergencies.

We’re talking about the social media equivalent of fire drills. And we’ve got just the thing for you to do your own advance preparation for emergencies on social media: a form you can download and share with management — and an attorney — so you can create pre-approved messages for different worst-case scenarios.

Of course, one hopes that emergencies never happen in the first place, but set that aside when filling in the worksheet. To come up with the hypothetical scenario for the first field on the form, think of the worst possible thing that could happen to your brand or profiles on social media. Then think about how you might try to placate customers and the public to minimize damages. And consider using a coupon or giveaway — even creating one just for this type of occasion — that you could give to those affected by the problem.

We recommend that you go through this exercise at least once, but completing several of them will optimally prepare you for any unwanted surprises. For an example of a completed emergency form, check out our Social Media Strategy Summit presentation scheduled for 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET Friday (Dec. 7). Get a 10 percent discount on registration by using the promotional code “SPEAKVIP.”

Readers: What worst-case scenario would you prepare for? David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.