It is no surprise social media can be the direct cause of a crisis. Believe it or not, however, social media can be an exceptional tool for crisis management.
Many platforms extend an option for users to provide feedback. However, a vast majority of social media users are utilizing platforms to listen. This enables a great opportunity for businesses to speak to users and consumers during a crisis.
One unique example of crisis management via social media is utilizing multiple platforms for crisis communication on a college campus. Jimmy Daly in Ed Tech magazine writes about the importance of speaking to students through channels that are available and relevant to their needs; social media. Fordham University, for example, chose to use Facebook and Twitter as a point of access for students due to the loss of power resulting in no email access.
According to Ed Tech, 96 percent of universities actively use Facebook and 80 percent are actively using a Twitter account. 85 percent of those universities have a readily available crisis communication plan but only 59 percent include social media in the plan. Why?
In order to successfully implement social media in a crisis communication plan a business or school must take the following action:
Select and implement a social media monitoring system. Sysomos’s Heartbeat is a real-time monitoring and measurement tool; this is one example of the many monitoring system available.
Develop a social media plan.
Implement the social media plan.
Make the plan synonymous with social media platforms.
After taking these steps, it is important to remain consistent throughout, have a plan (one can never be too prepared!) and listen to your audience.