Crisis Communications in the Social Media Age
It seems not a day goes by that a viral video is making the news. More often than not, that video depicts someone acting in a way that reflects badly on them and the organization they represent.
The problem with these videos is that in all likelihood the 30 seconds of video that we are seeing is just a snippet of what had actually happened. What gets shared on-air or on social media is the most controversial, most egregious elements of a situation.
And sadly, no one is protected from being the subject of a negative viral video.
So what’s an organization to do to handle crisis is the social media age? I was asked that question during a recent interview on the local Fox affiliate. It was based on a particular incident that happened here in Phoenix, but the advice is relevant no matter what the organization.
- Acknowledge the video as soon as you are made aware of it. Talk about next steps and what your organization is doing.
- Release the rest of the story as soon as possible. Chances are there is more to the story that what was posted on Facebook.
- Do you have processes and protocols in place on how you will respond? If not, now is the time to develop a crisis communications plan.
It is also critically important that as consumers of news, whether through traditional media outlets or on social, that we become smarter consumers. Don’t take things at face-value, find a variety of sources to verify information and if at all possible, don’t jump to conclusions and paint an entire organization (or an individual within an organization) with a negative viewpoint based on one viral video.