There was a time when crisis communication meant firing off a few press releases and holding a couple of press conferences. The landscape has changed, though, and businesses today have a much broader spectrum of communication devices that allow them to reach customers, the public, and the press. SMS, mobile apps, and social media have changed the way we communicate and should all be incorporated into your crisis communication plan. These crisis communication tips for social media will help you get a firm footing in how your response to emergency and crisis situations.
You Need to Include Social Media into Your Crisis Communication Plan
You have to incorporate social media into your crisis communication planning because it allows you to get ahead of any accelerants that may reside on those platforms. When you conduct drills, make sure that social media is included. Create various scenarios that could evolve from a potential situation and devise responses so that when something happens, you are fully prepared.
Don’t Solely Use Social Media as a Way to Provide Information, but Instead, to Start Conversations and Exchanges of Information
Social media may seem like a great way to distribute official communication such as situation briefs, press releases, and other information. While this may be true, there are other applications that could prove to be even more beneficial. Social media allows you to connect with people who are directly involved in the situation. They can provide valuable insight into the emergency. It provides you with an invaluable link to the public, allowing you to partner with them so that you can gather field data that is more timely and accurate.
Understand the Limits of Social Media – and the Capabilities
Social media and internet use is booming, but that does not guarantee that your posts will get in front of all your customers – or even half. Facebook, Twitter and other social media do have limits. Organic engagement on social media platforms are startlingly low. However, more and more journalists are on social media to report stories, gain information, and interact with sources. It is a way to remain accessible to the media, and provide resources, as well as monitor what is being reported, and what the public is saying. Social media is an opportunity to connect with more than just the public, especially in a crisis.
Actively Monitor your Social Media Accounts and Respond Quickly
Monitoring your social media accounts is absolutely vital, even when there is no crisis. When a crisis is in full swing, monitoring becomes even more critical. Depending on the severity of the crisis, it may be necessary to have 24 hours monitoring to stay ahead of rumors and errors-in-fact. It is wise to identify levels of a crisis, and incorporate that into your plan so that you are prepared to manage the crisis according to level, or escalate as needed.
5 Points of Good Communication
Good communication relies on these five basic principles. Regardless of the platform, these communications basics are tried and true.
- Be on top of how information is handled, working with credible sources.
- Be honest and candid when you acknowledge risks.
- Be prepared for some ambiguity and uncertainty.
- Be compassionate and concerned; show empathy.
- Be responsive and accessible to the media.
Sources: http://www.smartinsights.com/social-media-marketing/social-media-strategy/new-global-social-media-research, http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/visual-content-marketing-strategy#sm.0000q66m3bhsgcz5tu026yb35po71, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2014/05/06/three-charts-that-explain-how-u-s-journalists-use-social-media/