How to respond on social media during a pandemic
Do you have a plan or know how to respond on social media if you suddenly had to cancel an event or close your business because of the COVID-19?
What if one of your staff or customers contracted coronavirus and journalists were at your door asking questions?
Companies and organisations of all sizes including franchises, schools, tourism operators, retailers, and restaurateurs are urgently developing and introducing crisis communication plans to deal with the pandemic.
Here is what you should be doing:
Crisis communications plan
You must have a crisis communication and media plan so the executive leadership team can quickly activate and scale its response. Key to the plan is having procedures that outline what to do, the chain of command, and what is required for internal and external communications.
Brief your employees ahead of closing your business or cancelling an event. Remind them not to speak to the media unless they are authorised to do so and have a Media Policy in place so that everyone is clear on what to do if a journalist does call.
During any crisis, and particularly if you’ve been contacted by the media, you must act quickly. To do that, it’s important to have prepared a holding statement, media kit, and key messages. You also need to know who the company’s nominated media spokesperson is and their availability for an interview.
During the current health pandemic, information is key. You need to ensure all stakeholders and staff understand what has occurred, what the company is doing, and reiterate the company’s values.
It is important to not create fear or panic with your messaging and ALWAYS show empathy for what your stakeholders, staff, and broader community are dealing with.
Remember whatever you tell your staff and stakeholders can, and most often will, be made public so messaging must be consistent across internal and external communication.