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Advice Unlimited

Advice Unlimited

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Leveraging Social Media in Crisis Communications

There’s a lot of buzz around social media these days – why is this such a popular topic? Not just because it’s new; I think it’s also because it’s a great way to communicate quickly with a broad audience. What is this really good for? Communicating in a crisis.
If there’s a natural disaster, if there’s a pandemic or food contamination, if there’s a horrible crime spree or terrorist attack – a driving force is to calm the public and provide guidance on appropriate activity to keep everyone as safe as possible. In addition to the tremendous challenge of assessing the situation and crafting this crucial message, delivery of this message to the broadest amount of people as quickly as possible has always been a daunting task. Harnessing the power of social media can help tremendously.
Now is the time to update your organization’s crisis communications plan, and include a section on social media. What social media activities has your organization implemented for standard operating procedure? How do you leverage these tools in a crisis? Who has jurisdiction, what are the processes needed to ensure messages from the right source can be disseminated through the right tools speedily and appropriately? What processes are in place to get feedback, answer the public’s questions and concerns, and encourage and manage an effective dialog?
Spending the time now to review the how, what, why, where, and who of using these tools is time well spent, to help ensure your organization is ready to roll out an effective crisis communications effort when needed, using all of today’s new tools and advantages.

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