The Role of Social Media in Business Continuity; What Business Owners Should Consider

May 19, 2021

On Strike Sign Understanding the Good, Bad, and the Ugly of Business Continuity Planning and Social Media Use

Disasters can happen in an instant. The COVID-19 pandemic proved to many business owners that they should invest significant time and money into planning for disruptions of any kind. In 2020 the unthinkable happened, a worldwide natural disaster that strained supply chains and shuttered businesses. The uncertainty of the pandemic prompted panic as many companies attempted to adapt to a “new normal” with health protocols and face mask use. Social media now plays an important role for businesses recovering from the pandemic and should be a critical element to consider for further business continuity planning.

Ensuring long-term business continuity is no simple task. Business owners should consider both the positive and negative roles that social media can play in planning for mitigating risks for any disaster or crisis. During an emergency, a comprehensive business continuity plan should clearly outline what role social media will play during a disaster, along with the best practices and policies for your workforce during any significant disruption.

Business Continuity and Social Media: Considering the Good

Corporate social media use can be extremely helpful in the midst of a crisis. When communication mediums crash and technology fails, social media might be a saving grace, helping to guide workers and ensure their safety. Popular social mediums can allow business owners to communicate with their workforces in an instant, relaying important information and direction in real-time. Corporate social media accounts can also check in with workers privately, solicit information from their workers regarding their safety and wellbeing while offering careful guidance in the midst of a crisis or disaster.

A sound business continuity plan will outline exactly how corporate social profiles will communicate with their workforces, including which social accounts workers can look to for direction. Businesses should plan for the unexpected, including how a company can communicate with workers should cell phone service drop or other communication mediums fail during an emergency. A simple social media update can save a company time and trouble and offer a sense of calmness when a crisis prompts so much uncertainty.

No Likes Business Continuity: The Bad Side of Social Media Use During a Crisis

When a crisis does occur, social media can fuel speculation and rumors, sometimes offering more harm than good. Crisis response and mitigation can often be complicated by social media, especially when workers are without explicit social media guidelines. Many social platforms can perpetuate rumors and potentially send workers into a frenzy, spreading false information that could lead to further complications.

For instance, during an active shooter scenario, incorrect information posted on social media groups by workers could lead authorities in the wrong direction. Employees, along with the general public, are quick to react in events of panic and fear, posting information online that could ultimately harm both your workforce and the general public.

Social media shouldn’t be the grounds for citizen journalism in a corporate crisis. Proper business continuity plans must outline strict policies that reflect desired social media use among your workforce. Look to clearly outline a worker’s role and their social media use in a crisis and indicate what should and shouldn't be posted online during an emergency. Business owners of all kinds, including small, medium, and large businesses, should enact business continuity and crisis response plans that offer clear directions for workers to wait for instruction from specific social accounts and refrain from spreading false information and rumors. This careful planning can mitigate losses and instill a sense of calm during a crisis.

People on Strike Business Continuity: Considering the “Ugly Side” of Social Media Use During a Crisis

The public has been keeping a careful eye on many businesses throughout the pandemic. As recovery is top of mind for many companies, the pandemic has proven to be a long and hard battle that will negatively impact a business’ bottom line for many years. The COVID crisis is ongoing, and proper face mask usage, social distancing, and proper hygiene are under the microscope.

Today, a video of a job site or workforce flaunting proper public health measures can be shared online and viewed by millions in a matter of minutes. The embarrassment and public scrutiny from such bad social press can seriously harm a business’ recovery efforts and lead to further layoffs and closures. Office spaces, construction sites, logistics warehouses, and job sites of all kinds are at the mercy of the general public.

The public will be quick to shame a business or workforce that fails to act appropriately during the COVID-19 crisis. Further, workers who share videos or photos of one another failing to adhere to public health protocols can also bring negative publicity for the company. A proper business continuity plan should reflect the reactionary nature of social media along with best practices among workers to ensure that a business remains on the road to recovery for the long term. Protecting your public reputation during a crisis can save you tens of thousands of dollars and headaches caused by damaging videos published online.

Business Continuity Plans and Crisis Response Planning with AFIMAC

AFIMAC is highly experienced in protecting both people and property. We can help any business, big or small, plan for and respond to a crisis, including labour stoppages and strikes. Mitigate losses from disasters, floods, political unrest, active shooters, and pandemics, with sound business continuity plans created with the guidance of specialized professionals from AFIMAC.

Contact us directly to learn more about our available service offerings.
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