Modernizing Executives: Social Media Crisis Readiness

Let’s face it, the skills that many have carried through their careers are no longer quite a relevant as they once were. Typewriters were replaced by all of our computing devices, written and posted memos by email. And the ability to drive internal and external sentiment at global scale went from legacy media to social media. Even the crisis readiness plans have changed dramatically over time. So right on queue, the need for business executives to uplift their social media skills has become exceedingly obvious. But of course most have not. More importantly, most IT executives are far behind in social media, which seems to really be pretty weird when you would think of them as the top technologists, right?

Recognizing that gap between marketing and IT, especially information security, is surely important. Because social media is not itself an IT tool and it doesn’t actually secure the organization. Or does it? This we need to investigate.

Thankfully, our friends over at Meltwater authored a great blog post of their own, entitled “Attention Business Leaders: 5 Reasons Why You Need to Master Social Media” in which one of those 5 was about crisis readiness. Perfect! That’s what we have been saying as well; that social media, and to a greater extent marketing, can make a major impact in crisis preparation. Here’s what Karen Uyenco wrote on this very key topic:

Be Prepared for Crisis

Related, if you surround yourself with a team of social experts, you’ll hopefully be prepared with appropriate content if (when) a crisis hits. Read up on some of our best crisis commsblog posts and have the team prepare your action plan.

Remember, as with reason #1, use your personal voice. When preparing a statement or mea culpa, don’t sound like a dry press release. Don’t use corporate speak, that’s already out there. People will want to hear a leader speak with true understanding of the crisis that took place, offer a genuine apology (if it is warranted), and what actionable next steps will be put into place.

Karen Uyenco | Attention Business Leaders: 5 Reasons Why You Need to Master Social Media

Social Media & Crisis Readiness


Now that we know, it’s time to act. But if IT executives, primarily the CIO and CISO but also various other key leaders, haven’t really jumped on social media by now, it’s not likely they will just go to it on their own. Why would they?  Because the CMO said pretty please? Nope. 

Real crisis readiness is going to take sponsorship, dedication, and commitment. In other words, it’s going to take all of the things that will be in much shorter supply during a cyber crisis than they were leading up to it. What major brands with oodles of customer data and relationships at potential risk now need is social media crisis support. They need a crack team that can read findings from even the most thorough cyber forensics firms, completely comprehend all that was said without any confusion, and then formulate the plan the brand truly needs. And of course, they needed all of that yesterday.

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Written by Kevin Peterson

Kevin Peterson is the founder and chief content officer at ZecurityAscent, where he is the combined marketing/cybersecurity thought leader in enhancing your corporate brand before a cyber crisis, so that you can quickly recover after one. His background includes over 30 years in various security-related roles (up to the Fortune 5), of which the majority are as a Silicon Valley security marketing and branding expert. Adding to this is his own professional brand as an author, blogger, speaker, and United States Air Force veteran.
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