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The use of social media in business continuity management systems

Earlier in the year Continuity Central conducted a survey to find out how social media is currently being used by business continuity managers. This article provides a summary of the survey results.

Altogether, 237 responses were received to the survey, which was conducted online in Spring 2012. Of these, 61 percent said that they did not use social media within their business continuity management systems. 41.5 percent of respondents did use social media within their business continuity management systems and 2.5 percent didn’t know.

The remaining questions were asked to the 41.5 percent of respondents whose business continuity managements systems used social media in some manner:

Which social media resources do you use within your business continuity management system?

Respondents were asked to report which social media channels were being used within business continuity management systems. Respondents could list as many different channels as required. As shown in figure one, five social media channels were widely used. Of these Twitter (66 percent) and Facebook (54 percent) were the most commonly used social media channels. LinkedIn was the third most popular channel, at 24 percent, followed by Google + and YouTube, both being used within 18 percent of business continuity management systems.

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Figure one: the main social media channels used within business continuity management systems.

No other social media channel was used by more than 2 percent of respondents. Blogger, Yammer and Xing were each used by 2 percent of respondents, and Tumblr, Pinterest, Meetup, Yahoo Groups and Chatter were used by just one percent.

In which areas of your business continuity management system do you use social media?

This question again gave respondents the opportunity to give multiple answers, seeking to find out which aspects of business continuity management systems are most likely to be associated with social media usage. The main responses are shown in figure two, below.

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Figure two: the top uses of social media within business continuity management systems.

‘Incident communications’ (52 percent) and ‘awareness raising’ (47 percent) were the most common uses of social media within business continuity management systems, followed by ‘business continuity team communications’ (38 percent).

A quarter of respondents (24 percent) use social media channels ‘as a continuity strategy for telecoms outages’; while 22 percent use social media during ‘testing and exercising’ and 21 percent use it as part of ‘incident management’.

11 percent use social media as a tool for use within ‘business impact analysis’.

Less common responses included:

  • Keeping up with industry best practices, 2 percent
  • As a knowledge builder, to find out what is happening on the ground, 1 percent
  • Gaining feedback and surveys, 1 percent
  • Keeping abreast of situations regarding BCM, 1 percent
  • Tests of Call Tree, 1 percent
  • Training, networking, 1 percent.

User descriptions

Respondents were asked to provide a short description of how social media was used within their business continuity management systems. The responses are reproduced below. These are verbatim except for being spell checked:

  • Analyzing and extracting key learning information gathered from social media.
  • As part of our incident management monitoring, for example during the 2011 riots we kept up to date with Police news feeds on Twitter and Facebook. During past instances of inclement weather it has been very helpful to monitor public transport updates on Facebook and Twitter. There are many useful resources on YouTube and LinkedIn for awareness raising and keeping up to date with industry best practice.
  • Currently, only use it as information gathering. In future may consider using it for spreading of information via our communications teams.
  • Customers - continue the discussion where it is already happening for marketing/PR purposes (FB/Twitter).
  • Due to restrictions on access to social media for the operational population, we currently only use it for gathering information during an incident. We are working to embed social media as a fundamental element of our incident communication strategy.
  • Early days so far. Social media was used first during Incident Management following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake as a means of basic information communication to staff unable to access business systems. It remains an optional consideration, though at this stage without formal process within BC or IM processes.
  • General awareness of products and services available by my organisation plus demonstration of Thought Leadership to a wider community.
  • I use it to gather intel for my operations in the affected area of disasters. Some County EOCs use Facebook to communicate situation reports.
  • I used this strategy but it was not information that our manager put down on a paper. But in the real event that happens, in others countries, it was quite important.
  • Ideal tool for keeping staff informed during longer than expected crisis situations.
  • Incident and crisis management communications to staff members
  • Keeping abreast of situations regarding BCM via LinkedIn forums.
  • Linked in for updates, BC awareness, upcoming meetings, promotion, etc.
  • Mainly for situational awareness, and to get boots-on-the-ground updates of actual incidents as they occur/evolve.
  • Mainly social media is used for situational awareness. Some communication and education to customers on critical infrastructure preparedness occurs.
  • Many times there are unanswered questions around planning...you use this media to get those answered...e.g. I was looking for recovery space providers details for a particular location...the networking helped me to get that...
  • Monitor to provide situational awareness during incidents.
  • Monitoring Public opinion of outages that hit widespread areas, IM, Media, Feedback, CSI, Public Messages...
  • My use of social media in the BCMS is still very much fledgling. The organization has a Yammer account which I find very useful for enhancing understanding and awareness of the BCMS and BC in general as well as highlighting threats that are on the horizon that may impact.  My functional leads also use it for highlighting activities that may also cause impacts (airline strikes, building maintenance etc).
  • Sharing information, asking questions to gain more widespread information.
  • Social media is used to keep staff informed of outages and expected resumption. Is also used to advise key stakeholders of the situation and when operations are expected to resume.
  • To keep me connected.
  • To keep staff informed of the current status of an event.
  • To track any comments / issues that could present a risk to reputation.
  • Twitter is just one communications medium that we may choose to use during an incident to communicate with clients and the wider world. Twitter is part of our BAU comms strategy so its use is not particular to an Incident. We would not use Twitter or other Social Media to organise a response or communicate with staff.
  • Using Facebook, Twitter, and Google as company's emergency communication outlet in crisis management plan.
  • We are not well advanced in BC but we have found Yammer to be very good value when vital services fail. Because it’s hosted outside the organisation, and doesn't use our own authentication services, it's reasonably resilient, as long as we have internet services of one form or another.
  • We constantly monitor Titter for incidents that may be occurring without our knowledge. If we notice items that potentially could turn nasty, we quickly address the matter and respond with an incident response.
  • We have Facebook and Twitter accounts as an organisation that can be used after an incident - Twitter has been used during adverse weather, as an additional route to publicise the web pages and to answer questions. I personally have a Twitter account which I use to comment/ raise awareness on business continuity matters. In addition my director who is chair of our BC Operational Group uses Twitter and blogs and often mentions business continuity updates.
  • We use it for monitoring the environment and potential interruptions to business.
  • We will be using for communications of the Incident Management Team during the initial emergency response stage and will roll out to other teams once we have tested and are confident that it will meet our needs.
  • Yammer is used within our business and we have recently started a pilot to use it as another comms mechanism.

Make a comment.

•Date: 30th August 2012 • World •Type: Article • Topic: BC statistics

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