Social Business

A terrible week, but we were ready. Were you?

Like so many of us, I spent much of last week trying to get my head around another terrorist incident, this time aimed at kids enjoying a pop concert in Manchester. Mind-numbing, especially when I saw the faces of the victims as the week unfolded. As a father of an 8 year old, it was particularly tough – yet only a fraction of the tough some families are going through right now.

But on waking at 0455 on Tuesday morning ready for an early event up in London, and seeing that first news alert notification on my phone, the professional ‘me’ woke up very quickly.

As luck would have it, we went through a cyber-incident crisis rehearsal on Monday afternoon where my fellow comms team members and I worked through a business continuity drill.  So having my BC plan literally to hand was handy as we worked through the process of managing the closure of our Manchester city centre office for the day and how we communicated that across our various channels. Pleased, if that’s the right word, that the business was able to account for everyone quickly and that none of them were impacted, although one colleague was at the event with their family.

Technology is a great aid at times like this. Clearly, despite the terrible events, our every lives and businesses continue. We still have customers who will need to talk to us, and us to them. So to activate colleagues to work from home is a great way of dealing with these events.

Two weeks ago, I spoke at a digital transformation in insurance conference, where I explained how getting our social “plumbing” established and operational was a crucial first step for me, and which has paid off in multiple as we’ve had to deal with major incidents – some internal, some to manage external events. Most major incidents are ones that don’t actually impact you or your business, but could if you don’t treat them with respect and the necessary deference.

Soc StudioBy 0515 Tuesday morning, I had used the social media platform app (pic left) on my iPad to move all our scheduled content across all our UK social channels to later in the day while we evaluated the news and decide how and when to post appropriately. I’d alerted our key users to what I’d done and to be sensitive in matters that may crop up.  We then spoke through the day to determine the best response to the ongoing incident.

And yet, we still saw brands scheduled content going out during yesterday morning.  You can always make the case that ‘terrorism wins if we change what we do’ but reputationally, you’re a case study away from being in a pickle.

Yet, all this technology triggers a dichotomy for social media leads.  I ofFOMO memeten wonder what would happen if I follow the mental wellbeing advice and switch off notifications and do social on my terms, not others. Had I done that, I probably wouldn’t have known about Tuesday night’s incident until arriving in our London office at 8am – probably too late to stop a problem. Fortunately my FOMO doesn’t allow me to turn stuff off, although I have moderated the quantity of late.

Here’s hoping to a safer, quieter week all round. But if it isn’t, we’ll be ready for it.



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