It's painfully clear that organizations need to be prepared to respond to crises of all kinds and do so immediately. The pressure to react to events within minutes is made more apparent by the widespread use of socially-convergent tools by the public.
In other words, social convergence has changed how crises should be dealt with ... certainly from a communications standpoint. So, how can emergency management organizations, public safety agencies, governments and companies ensure their response and continuity of operations planning takes into account the impact of social networks and mobile devices?
That's where the idea of a socially-convergent audit comes in. This starts with the very basic premise of having every BCP/COOP effort or emergency response plan include a strong crisis communications/emergency info section or even a thorough crisis communications plan.
Other questions include: how is alerting done? how do we let our staff, suppliers, key stakeholders and the public know what's going on? What mobile tools are we using (if any)? Are we maximizing message amplification by using social networks ?
Another question: is the media our key audience? do we still plan to issue news releases and wait for journalists to interpret our words ... or do we take the lead and talk directly to our audiences (via Twitter ...FB ... Periscope and others ...) ?
Other topics that should be included in such an audit include: who conducts social listening during the crisis and how is the social "intelligence" fed into the EOC or to senior executives? The new context for PIOs is truly daunting and many organizations have looked at integrating volunteers (such as Virtual Operations Support Teams or VOST) to help.
Others have integrated the formation of a dedicated social media listening team as part of their EOC ramp up procedures. Operational social listening is now a MUST for any entity responding to a large-scale emergency/incident.
Another key topic of the social convergence audit is who has the "keys" to the social network accounts that will be used and what policies guide content, vetting of info, responses and frequency of interactions. An absolute necessity to avoid mistakes.
I'm currently working to adapt the social integration matrix I developed a few years ago to include this audit as part of a set of milestones for progressing through the social convergence continuum.
Stay tuned !