Being unaware of what people are saying about you via social media is risky business, especially in a crisis.  We’re embracing blogs, chat rooms and websites like never before. Twitter spreads bad news like wildfire. Online communities are changing the way people research and communicate with their target audiences when the bad thing happens. No matter the social network (Facebook, Twitter etc.), blog or online forum, the social web is offering a more personal connection and is critical as part of your crisis management strategy.

Social media can help you create a positive transparent response and dispel misinformation. What are some of the most important reasons social media is essential?

  • Offers an affordable method for connecting people during a crisis
  • Listens to find out what your audience is talking about
  • Keep a close eye on those who complain
  • Provides a fast way to dispel misinformation

Using a website to reach people in a crisis is not enough. Social media is about connecting with your key audiences and expanding on that connection.  You might even consider adding SMS (short message service) to your arsenal of social media options.  You can text followers who sign up and keep them up to date in a positive way about the crisis, how it is being handled and what the expected outcome is.

During a crisis, be pro-active with monitoring and staying ahead of the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.  You must never delete negative comments, however. Respond immediately to the person posting and offer your email address so they can converse with you privately. Make sure that the people on your crisis management team are social media experts, not dinosaurs; because they must know how to respond quickly through your social media channels.

-Susan, TGPR