Many people view social media only as an object that adds fuel to the fire that is a crisis situation. However, if used properly, social media can be a powerful tool when combating misinformation. Public Relations group Burrelles Luce has outline 14 points that can help you navigate the choppy waters of crisis communication.
1. Identify your influencers, as they are most likely to impact the conversation.
2. Actively monitor your reputation and the activities of your protagonist(s) or advocate(s).
3. Avoid the information vacuum. Information spreads as soon as it’s available, regardless of its veracity. You can’t have a press conference every other hour; you have to release news in real time.
4. Develop a clear, effective and platform-appropriate message. Be where your crisis is happening. Craft an appropriate message for the platform on which you respond. If something is happening on Twitter, respond via Twitter first before sending out a press release.
5. Own your brand in social media before someone else does. People are actively stalking and brand jacking. You should know not only your corporate entity’s brand, but all of your subsidiary brands.
6. A majority of journalists use Twitter for sources. Journalists are getting their news from Twitter in real-time before verifying the source of the story.
7. Make sure to include people, not logos, on your social media accounts. No one wants to engage with a logo, especially in a crisis. We want to talk and hear from someone.
8. Integration is key. It is critical to integrate your crisis communication plan across all channels.
9. Know what you are talking about. Once you lose the credibility it is really tough to get it back.
10. When you blow it, own up to it quickly.
11. When all else fails, don’t forget humor. When you have really gotten in too deep, the best way to recover is humor.
12. Integrate paid and earned media.
13. Have clear employee rules and training for social media engagement.
14. Don’t forget your secret weapon: your employees.