When a Weekend Social Media Crisis Strikes: 5 Preparedness Tips

Ever had a social media crisis break on late Friday night or over the weekend? If it hasn’t happened yet to your team, the odds are it will. Hopefully you have a resource and coverage plan in place. But it doesn’t have to be a huge problem. According to Morgan McLintic, executive VP at Lewis PR, in some ways a crisis that hits over the weekend is an advantage.  “There are fewer people involved so you tend to get clearer decision-making and faster communication,” says McLintic. We asked McLintic and some of his colleagues at Lewis PR for five tips to be prepared for a weekend crisis onslaught.

1. Grow a phone tree: If you’re an agency, know who your main client contact is and know who the backup is. If you’re in corporate PR, have main and back-up contacts for key members of your organization who will need to know that the crisis is happening, says Matt Coolidge, senior account executive, Lewis PR.

2. Have a backup voice: It's best practice to have a primary spokesperson and a backup spokesperson pre-selected, just in case the first person is completely unreachable over the weekend (their phone may not have reception if they are atop a mountain skiing or in the middle of the ocean snorkeling), says Lucy Allen, EVP and chief strategy officer at Lewis PR.

3. Have media content ready: The journalists covering the crisis over the weekend are likely not the same people your CEO has spoken to time and time again, and it's therefore less likely your company fits his or her beat, says Allen. Having updated content available to share with the journalists will help him or her put things in better perspective, and become better acclimated with the company's background and most recent news. Simple press kits loaded onto flash drives or file transfer sites will suffice.

4. Be well-equipped:
Make sure the people involved have the equipment to work remotely. For instance, some people leave their laptops at work, says McLintic.

5. Make the crisis an opportunity:
Reporters also don't always expect a response over the weekend so it helps to build the relationship if you can work with them out of hours, offers McLintic.

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About Scott Van Camp

Scott Van Camp is editor of PR News, an executive-level, reader-supported publication that helps enhance the business impact of PR. Scott has a rich background in both journalism and PR/marketing. He has more than 15 years of experience as a writer/editor at various consumer and trade publications. Scott was with VNU Business Publications for five years, including stints as managing editor at IQ News and Technology Marketing magazines and senior editor at Brandweek. In the PR/marketing sphere, he has served as corporate communications manager at MarketBridge, a marketing and sales consultancy, and as editorial director for the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. While at the Council, Scott led several high-profile marketing research projects. He has also operated his own communications and media consulting firm, SVC Communications.

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