In today’s day and age, it would be hard to imagine a world without social media. There are hundreds of social networking platforms to choose from and the most popular sites catch the attention of billions of visitors daily.
But social media has become much more than just “liking,” “retweeting,” “sharing” and “connecting”—it’s become an essential tool for businesses looking to engage and share with their internal employees and customers.
It’s no doubt that social media is a powerful communication tool, yet where does it fit in with business continuity planning?
According to Continuity Insights and KMPG’s “Global BCM Program Benchmarking Study,” social media is becoming a part of many organization’s planning:
Source: 2016 Continuity Insights and KMPG Global BCM Program Benchmarking Study
Despite social media’s widespread popularity and its opportunities for potential use, there are varying perspectives and options around its place within the business continuity planning process.
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of using social media as a business continuity management tool:
- It allows you to quickly communicate in real-time
- You can reach a wide audience who you may normally not have contact information for
- It provides an opportunity to collect direct customer feedback and intel that can be useful for predicting an event or improving your incident management in the future
- It can be easy to spread incorrect information, especially if you only have a 140-character count
- Your use is dependent on electrical power, internet connect or mobile data connection
- There is the potential for your account to get hacked or for a threat to gather intel on your plan and response tactics
- Social media usage during a crisis is faced with skepticism amongst executive management
Social-Continuity Management in Action
If the pros and cons still have you on the fence, here are two real-life examples of social media and business continuity management in action:
Northern California Wildfires
During the 2017 Northern California wildfires, many local authorities used social media to spread the word about the fire’s fast spread. This approach was praised for its widespread reach, however, California’s overall emergency notification strategy was criticized for lacking a comprehensive approach.
Las Vegas Mass Shooting
Around the same time this year, social media was used as a means of communication during an event where officials aimed to track down the shooter. Pictures of law enforcement surfaced across the internet, increasing the likelihood of these individuals being put in the line of fire.
Conclusion: Don’t Throw Caution to the Wind
Pairing social media with business continuity management has clear pros and cons. For organizations looking to leverage these networks as a tool, while also practicing effective incident management, be sure to proceed with caution by:
- Making sure you identify and evaluate all the potential risks involved use using social media as part of your BC planning
- Define clear parameters and policies for using social media during an incident
- Test, educate and train internal teams on these policies and best practices
- Pair these efforts with a notification management system that addresses the gaps and pitfalls of social media communication
During an event or incident, keeping your employees, customers and assets safe and secure is your number one priority. As with any successful business continuity program, evaluate what works best for your organization, but don’t leave anything to chance or miss any potential risks in play.
Written by Assurance Software
Assurance Software takes your company’s enterprise-wide business continuity and resiliency program to the next level. With Assurance as your go-to partner for continuity and resilience, you can confidently mitigate risk, manage recovery, and safeguard your employees, customers, operations and brands.