"Cloud services are great if you don't want to stay chained to your desk, but they also double as a handy business continuity and disaster recovery tool."

Digital has changed the way we live and work and choosing to store important files in the cloud and access it anytime and anywhere has become standard practice.

As award-winning technology journalist Adam Turner asked: “Do you live in the cloud but keep one foot on the ground?” It’s a pertinent question, and one that reminds us to take a look at how your business’ digital strategy would react in times of disaster, whether natural or man-made. Turner goes on to argue that using the cloud can actually save your digital assets and information in times like these.

“Cloud services are great if you don't want to stay chained to your desk, but they also double as a handy business continuity and disaster recovery tool. Should disaster strike your home or office, you can keep working elsewhere while you sort out your problems. Whether it’s fire, flood, theft or coffee in the keyboard, your data is safe. Many people don’t think about back-ups and disaster recovery until it’s too late,” he says.

Social media, of course, has become an important part of our lives and has been a boon for online marketing and communications. We’ve talked about how social media can help you manoeuvre through a public relations crisis and win customer trust but it’s also worth mapping out a contingency plan.

In other words, how would you actually operate your social media if disaster struck your company, building or even your country. Just like having a cloud back-up plan, it’s important to have one for social. 

Here are some points to consider:

Give multiple staff members access to social media accounts

You need someone who can jump in and manage these platforms in times of emergency. Even if your back-up staff members rarely tweet or post for you, make sure they do it occasionally to keep up their skills, as platforms and tools change frequently. And be sure that at least a few people have actual account passwords for your social presences, not just access through HootSuite or their smartphone, in case connectivity is limited and they have to post in an ‘old-fashioned’ way, says Stephanie Schwab in Social Media Explorer.

Parallel your traditional crisis plan with your social media contingency plan

“Dust off that plan and look at it with an eye towards social. Do you have a standard set of messages your company wants to use in a crisis? Write social-friendly versions that are 140 characters or that are appropriate for Facebook or your blog. If you have community partnerships already in place (like Red Cross or your local school), consider whether you can leverage those relationships via social media in a crisis; perhaps you can amplify each others’ messages,” adds Schwab.

Post content more regularly – even on weekends and after-hours

Let your audience know that the brand or staff are okay. If something really terrible or serious happens, make sure you turn off scheduled tweets or Facebook posts. “After September 11, it took a couple of days for many companies to turn off their billboards in Times Square or replace them with messaging that wasn’t the latest beer ad. In today’s immediate, tweet-as-it-happens environment, two days would be too late – if you failed to change your tone or messaging almost immediately, your Facebook wall could be covered in negative sentiment disparaging your brand for not responding appropriately,” says Schwab.

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