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Social media 'not being leveraged for crisis management'

13/09/13

Companies are still not utilising the full power of social media as part of their business continuity management (BCM) efforts, although the growing importance of internal audit has encouraged firms to rethink their crisis management schemes, according to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

The organisation's latest survey mostly involved US firms, but the pressures they are facing are similar to those of their UK counterparts.

Some 57 per cent of respondents admitted they do not have any official social media processes to make use of in the event of a crisis, while acknowledging the potential usefulness of such a scheme.

Phil Sampson, principal in PwC's risk assurance practice and the firm's BCM service leader, pointed out that more businesses are now willing to integrate continuity planning into their overall risk management programme, rather than seeing it as an "insurance exercise or IT responsibility".

"As they're starting to think about how to improve crisis communications elements in their BCM programs, we're finding that some have started to delve into the social media sphere. Yet, the majority is still hesitant about utilising social media as a crisis management tool," he added.

Among those companies who have adopted social platforms for this purpose, Facebook and Twitter were the two cited most often. However, not all firms are seeing any improvement in the capabilities despite taking up technology of this kind.

Only eight per cent of respondents told PwC that social media has become a major enabler for the organisation to identify and respond to serious crisis events.

Mr Sampson highlighted a degree of uncertainty among businesses as to how they can leverage social media most effectively, but argued that this will change naturally as the technology begins to pervade all aspects of corporate life.

A recent report from Deloitte warned that using social media to manage crises can have its risks, something internal auditors should make businesses aware of.

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