According to a recent post by Forbes, these business leaders believe it is only a matter of time until their company faces a moment of truth, confronted by the near instantaneous force of social media in the digital landscape. They admit they don’t know what the crisis will be, only that it will come and it will be big.
This seems like a good bet to me, too. Social media creates almost as many opportunities for problems as it does solutions. This does not mean you should shun social media. In fact, just the opposite. By having a professionally managed social media network your company stands a much better chance of fending off whatever problems might come its way. If you try sticking your head in the sand to avoid the impending doom, you will only end up burning your rear end….
Yet, despite that conviction, most are still totally unprepared to manage and emerge successfully from crises fueled by a digitally powered news cycle. Nearly half of those surveyed said they lack even a basic form of effective online reputation monitoring. Not only are they not prepared, they don’t even have the most rudimentary tools to know if their reputations are under assault.
To paraphrase a former secretary of defense with extensive crisis experience, most companies today are awash in “unknown unknowns” regarding the online marketplace. Half of those polled admit they have no idea who the key online thought leaders are in their industry, the social digerati who will very likely shape the narrative and amplify negative coverage in a crisis.
The findings from this survey confirm an alarming trend among small and large companies alike. According to a PRWeek report, more than a third of all companies have no one person responsible for social media within the organization. And despite how many potential crises develop from inappropriate and/or unintended employee communications, a surprising three quarters of those surveyed by PRWeek have no program for encouraging and training potential internal brand ambassadors in effective social media engagement.
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