Want to see what a crisis situation looks like on social media and then not formally respond online?
Read the replies in this tweet and then imagine if there are any situations your church could possibly face.
— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) April 29, 2016
Not a football fan? Let me explain a little why this is the perfect example your church needs a crisis communication plan in place. (If you haven’t read it yet, here is also an infographic for different levels of crisis social media management)
Let Me Explain More
So here is the context of the tweet. On April 28th, the National Football League had their NFL Draft where college players go professional. The person who predicted to go very first had a series of character destroying events happen over the course of a few days, including right before the Draft started. This mean he didn’t get draft until the 13th pick, which for him meant a lose in stature as well as millions of guaranteed dollars when he signs his contract and for his university, a bit of a PR nightmare, but nothing that would be too significant. At the post Draft interview, a journalist asked if he had ever accepted money while a college player and he confirmed he had, which will result in millions of dollars in immediate fines to the university, football sanctions that will ensure their recruitment and football program does not develop for years to come, and therefore a HUGE loss in revenue for the foreseeable future. For the football player, there is no recourse.
So back to the tweet.
This came out that Thursday night. As of writing this article more than 16 hours later, the university still has not stated anything. In fact, their social media platforms are apparently automatically still posting content which their followers and fans are mocking. As bad as the automation is for their PR image, the silence from the university is truly defining. People are mocking your university, you are put out there as facing these huge legal situations, and… nothing?
I do not want to go over how to do a crisis communication plan now, we have addressed that in the article I linked to above. But let me just reiterate, the time to prepare for a crisis is now, not when the crisis is occurring.
Can you predict every possible crisis that will happen? No.
Can you identify a point person on who to contact? Can you make sure every person in your organization knows who to contact if a crisis happens? Can you give permission to contact that person ANY TIME a situation happens? Can you brainstorm potential blindspots in your current plan? Can you give real world case studies every couple of months to continue to progress thoughts of “how would we handle that situation?” Yes to all of them.
Please, don’t wait.