5 Digital Fundamentals for Responding to a Crisis

Scott Lusk

Vice President of Communications, Scott Lusk, shares five basic digital tactics of a crisis plan.

During a crisis, many organizations fall back on what they have done before – and what they are comfortable with. But, media statements and talking points are not enough in today’s digital-first world. Communicators must be prepared to monitor and utilize digital channels during a crisis.
A crisis can grow and spread almost immediately online, which is why communicators must have at least the building blocks of a digital plan for a crisis. Five basic digital tactics of a crisis plan are:
Pause unrelated social media updates. During a crisis, all scheduled social media posts should be paused. Unrelated social media posts could give the impression that an organization is downplaying the crisis. Instead, use these channels to share approved information about the organization’s response to the issue.
Monitor digital channels. Communicators should always monitor earned and social media, but this is essential during a crisis. The immediacy of social media facilitates the rapid spread of negative stories. Communicators should have individuals assigned to track all digital mentions of a company during a crisis – day and night.
Update the website. Communications should be prepared to immediately create a landing page and crisis FAQ page during a crisis. Crisis-related content should include media statements, updated information about the organizations response and where those affected can reach help. Navigation bars should be updated, as well. New digital content also benefits an organization’s SEO during a crisis by directing individuals to helpful crisis-specific information instead of negative headlines.
Revise digital content. Just as they update talking points and media statements during a crisis, communicators should update social media messages, website copy and digital FAQs as new information becomes available.
Practice. In a crisis, communicators need to respond and not just react. A crisis simulation for these digital tactics allows a communications team to practice how it will respond and to identify bottlenecks in creating, approving and posting new digital content.
If you would like to discuss your organization’s digital preparedness for a crisis, please reach out to Scott at slusk@signaldc.com. You can also follow him on LinkedIn.

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