After a Crisis: Updating Your Social Media Strategy

Checklist 2 min
Prepare for long-term effects and update your social media strategy with lessons learned after a crisis.

After a crisis occurs, units may realize they did not incorporate social media into their crisis communication, that their plan was outdated, that it did not incorporate all parts of their strategy and/or that they inherited a crisis communication plan that did not encompass all the social media channels they currently use.

The ability to update your social media strategy depends on your team gathering data that informs on what worked and didn't work during the crisis.

Use this checklist to ensure you conduct a thorough after action report (AAR) on your social media strategy that will allow your team to execute a crisis communication plan, learn from mistakes and change what doesn't work.

  1. Assess mission impact through data
    1. Monitor internal/external platforms during the event to assess mission impact and identify mis/dis information being spread during the crisis
    2. Compare the time periods of normal operation against that of the crisis to gauge the severity of the event in the communication environment, this includes: lost followers, specific complaints and the amount and resonance (viral reach) of negative sentiment surrounding the mission
    3. Determine what and when responses were most effective during the event
    4. Establish a measurement scale to evaluate the negative conversations generated
    5. Determine how to measure impact on overall mission sentiment
    6. Determine how to measure overall mission impact of the crisis over time
    7. Create an analysis for leadership to make changes, if needed, in crisis communication going forward
  2. Reflect on responses through a team AAR
    1. Evaluate messages and responses of what worked and what didn't
    2. Determine the strongest aspects of the crisis communication plan
    3. Identify the parts of the existing strategy that were not as helpful or effective
    4. List any processes, guidelines, templates or systems that need to be revised or added
    5. Identify potential long-term impacts
    6. Consider who the AAR or revisions are disseminated to or shared with to protect the DoD from exploitable vulnerabilities
  3. Prepare for the long-term impacts
    1. Plan how to manage and participate in the long-term conversation about this crisis event
    2. Identify if and where continual updates need to be provided long-term to any audiences or stakeholders
    3. Consider using social media to push your audience to a website or another command's page for long-term updates
    4. Evaluate if there is a need to adjust communications and responses to similar events in the future (passive or active posture)
  4. Update the Crisis Communication Plan
    1. Implement all the revisions collected above during the data assessment, team reflection and long-term adjustments
    2. Perform a candid team assessment to reflect on all the steps taken by the team and update the plan with any changes
    3. Share any lessons learned with internal audiences, specifically, your command and Public Affairs community
  5. Thank the community members and key partners for their support during the crisis

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