Construction is a social media favorite, as structural demolition companies know. The 2019 partial collapse of a hotel in New Orleans and a crane collapse in Seattle remind us that the internet shares mistakes in construction like few other industries.

Construction firms need disaster plans to protect their reputation during viral moments, according to a new article in the online trade publication Construction Dive. Ongoing detailed safeguards for the company’s reputation, it says, should be in place and ready as part of the company’s best-practices.

Rethinking needed roles in the social media age

Information vacuums now seem nearly extinct. Once an image, video, information or misinformation, goes viral it can circle the globe many times before many companies even know it exists.

The article suggests an assigned media manager can lead the creation of a media plan the company can use at the most critical moment, which is often in the first minutes after an incident.

A media manager or team can set up social media accounts, websites and media relationships, design training for everyone at every level of the company and watch the horizon for incoming misinformation.

Everyone today needs to understand their information role. For example, do all workers sign and fully understand contracts barring social media posts about company job sites?

Disaster plans when the company’s reputation is at risk

These are some of the actions the reporter at Construction Dive suggests taking long before any media disasters strike:

  • Make a separate disaster-response website now. Assign point people ready to insert details and make it live when needed.
  • Set up a response plan flexible enough to handle any danger to the company’s reputation, either from weather events, employee injuries, large-scale accidents, data hacks, labor strikes, construction defects or anything else.
  • Stay ready to act as a source for useful facts because reporters will get and use information whether you give them any or not.
  • Resist the urge to reply to everything about you on social media. Some ideas need quashing right away, while others should fade away from neglect.

Gaps in the company’s media plans will almost surely become clear to owners, supervisors, investors, clients or competitors only in an emergency when it is often too late to improvise effectively.