In today’s 24/7 140-word world that we live in, it just takes one misguided Tweet or inappropriate Instagram photo to create a crisis for any organization. Don’t shoot the “messenger” – social media doesn’t create the crisis, an error in judgment does. A smart communicator knows this and is prepared to respond quickly and efficiently.
How do you advise a client that is facing a crisis situation when it comes to its communications efforts?
Crisis communication no longer means holding a news conference to respond to questions. It now must include monitoring and managing what is happening in the social space.
We must account for the fact that an inappropriate post, whether done internally by the organization, or as a result of a disgruntled blogger, can turn into a “crisis” if not responded to in a timely fashion.
What are some best practices to consider when using social media for a crisis situation?
Just knowing that you need to be mindful of your presence in the social space is the first step. You may not actively engage in social media, but other influencers are. Keeping a close eye on the situation is crucial.
It is not much different to me whether you are managing a crisis in the social space or through more traditional means – your tagline for this session is right on: be aware, be prepared and be proactive. There is no such thing as “no comment” and that is even truer in the social space.
Have a social media policy in place so that all those representing your brand are aware of the dos and don’ts.
Create a social media crisis team – smart, quick and empowered people who can be available at a moment’s notice. Crises never happen 8-5 so be sure everyone is reachable, no matter what time of day the crisis occurs.
Our first reaction is to DELETE DELETE DELETE when it comes to that misguided post. But unless you can adequately explain it and why you are deleting, it is easier to move on and deal with it appropriately.
Relax and take a deep breath before you respond. Yes, you need to respond, but give yourself the benefit of a minute or two to determine the best course of action and what your next steps will be. A smart, thoughtful response that is honest and keeping with your brand’s online presence will go a long way toward managing the crisis.
Vice President/General Manager
Abbie has been doing public relations her whole life…from organizing a picket line in 6th grade to organizing client communications today. She’s passionate about a lot of things, you’ll see.
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