During a crisis, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The second best thing is the wrong thing. And as you can probably guess, the worst thing you can do is nothing.

apt-fireIt is imperative that you and your company are prepared for crisis situations, because timeliness is often the most important factor. But what is a crisis? It’s not mean tweets, and it’s not just unhappy residents.

A crisis is a decisive change from the norm. You are probably used to typical social chatter about your community and brand. Or maybe not if listening is new to you. The point is that conversation is happening and it has a general topic and tone. Some of it is negative. This is not a crisis. A crisis is when the usual chatter makes a very decisive turn.

A crisis also has information inconsistency and asymmetry. Sound confusing? It simply means that you and your company know nothing more than everyone else. An event is unfolding publicly and you are not ahead of the news. For example, there is a major fire at your property and the residents are tweeting pics as it happens, which might be the first time you are hearing some of the details.

All of this has the potential to impact your company, and you want to prepare for it. But it’s hard to manage a crisis and beat others to the punch if you don’t know about it. You have to have a listening program in place with a defined protocol. Who is listening and when? What are they listening for? This is why it is so important to identify what makes a crisis.

Now you are ready to enter full crisis management planning mode. Do you have a plan and protocol at your community?

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