Social Media and Crisis Public Relations Planning
Whether your organisation is using social media or not, if you have a major incident you will be – even if you don’t know it!
Twitter, especially, is well used and recognised as a form of news feed. If your organisation has a major incident e.g. building blow up, product recall or someone die on your premises, you can be pretty much assured that it will be all over Twitter in a matter of hours.
So how can you make sure that you are doing all you can to include this new form of communication in your Crisis Public Relations planning?
1. Be there already..
Make sure that your Marketing and PR strategy already includes having a presence on, and understanding of, the main social media platforms. Currently these would be thought of as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube , LinkedIn and Google+. If you are already engaging with and have relationships on these forums then it will be easier for you to respond to and deal with any issues there.
Use Google Alerts, Twilerts and other tools to monitor your organisation in the social media and online sphere, so that you are automatically alerted if a conversation starts up or comment is made about you.
3. Don’t be afraid and act quickly
Social media culture is very different from traditional media. You don’t have time to hang-up on the journalist, pull a team together, write a statement and get it signed-off. You need to be confident enough in your position and knowledge of the organisation to quickly decide on an update, check it off with someone in authority and get it out. Even if it just says something like: ‘We are aware of the [issue] and are working hard to…, we will be updating regularly.’
4. Keep the conversation going
Once the initial crisis is over and you have managed to keep your fans and followers up-to-date with information, you then have time to be more considered. Get the CEO to make a short film in response to the crisis, post it and share it. Keep on engaging and sharing good content to all your new fans and followers! The saying goes that: ‘All publicity is good publicity’ – suddenly your brand is all over social media, maybe initially, for the wrong reasons but you should have been able to turn it around and use the opportunity to build brand awareness.
The main thing is not to stick your head in the sand. Act quickly and be as open and honest as possible, responding on the platforms where the information is being shared.
If you feel that you don’t have the expertise in-house to deal with these forms of communication in a crisis then consider employing a social media agency to help you.
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