Every managed services provider (MSP) should have a backup and disaster recovery (BDR) plan that includes a social media strategy. Social media allows you to show your customers how you're assisting them during a storm. Most importantly, however, it affirms your presence. If something goes wrong during a disaster on your end, the last thing you want is for your customer to question your whereabouts. How should you implement social media into your BDR plan? We'll reveal the basics to get you through any upcoming disaster.

Your basic strategy should include three stages: before the storm (preparation), during the storm, and after the storm. Each stage has its own unique set of characteristics and has its own role. To properly assist your customers (and cover yourself), you should follow-through with each stage. Don't be afraid of opening a dialogue up with your customers via social media. If the conversation becomes intense, take it offline.

Include the following steps in your BDR social media strategy:

  • Before the storm (preparation) -- We've reviewed how MSPs can prepare for potential disasters, but we haven't covered the communications aspect. Communicating with your customers before a disaster is simple, but important. Prepare your customers with information by disseminating it through your social media channels. How should customers prepare for an upcoming storm? Who should they contact from your staff and where can that individual be reached? Inform them of available resources for weather alerts: NOAA Weather Radio, NWS Weather Wire Service, Weather.gov, and Wireless Emergency Alerts. But don't be boring. Include photos and video of your staff preparing for the upcoming storm. Keep your customers informed.
  • During the storm -- Stay alert during the storm. Continue to inform your customers of available resources. While this stage may seem like it will be the most hectic, it won't. Many of your customers will be at home, protecting loved ones. Be available to answer any questions via social media.
  • After the storm (recovery) -- You're not done after the storm. In fact, your job has just started. After the storm, customers will head back to their businesses to find out if the storm caused any physical or virtual damage. Be ready to answer questions via social media and be prepared for the worst. Customers may be upset and take it out on you, but don't let it affect you. Make sure that you stay with them until their issues are resolved.
Pick a primary social media platform that most of your customers are on and inform them of your selection. You don't want your customers checking Facebook for updates if Twitter is where you'll be posting them. The best thing to do is to update both accounts to reach the largest audience. Every BDR plan should include social media to set your customers' minds at ease. IT support is changing and MSPs will need to adapt.