STUDY: Most Companies Are Utterly Unprepared For A Social Media Crisis

United Airlines

Photo: You Tube

Twitter and Facebook allow companies to engage with customers and garner publicity like never before — and many are finally taking advantage. But few are ready for a social media crisis.

In a new study by the Altimeter Group, more than half of the 144 companies surveyed say they don’t have a response plan if a real-time technology crisis strikes.

Equally as shocking, the study — which also researched 50 mainstream social media crises since 2001, and interviewed social media strategists at Intel, Coca-Cola, and Toyota, among other companies — found that 76% of crises could have been averted, either with more preparation or a better response to the problem.

The average corporate social business program is three years old, and there’s a huge difference between companies that have crisis-response systems in place and those who don’t. According to the study:

Of companies with a formalized crisis response plan in place, 96% feel prepared for a social media crisis; of those without a plan, only 22% indicate preparedness.

Check out these charts that show how unprepared companies are for a social media catastrophe:

Most companies could have completely avoided a crisis

There are several large-scale social media crises every year

Companies that were hit with social media crises were largely unprepared

Most crises originate after customers reveal they've had bad experiences with a company

While few companies experience a real financial hit (Leve 3 crisis), most experience negative coverage in the mainstream media

Once a crisis hits, it's all about the response

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