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Social Media Roundup/Social Media in Crisis Communications

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This week's Social Media Roundup examines how to use social media in crisis communications. In life, everything doesn’t always go according to plan. Crises happen, and when they happen to an Army …

This week's Social Media Roundup examines how to use social media in crisis communications. In life, everything doesn’t always go according to plan. Crises happen, and when they happen to an Army organization, it’s big news. An organization needs to be prepared to post pertinent information on social media sites during a crisis. Organizations should also listen to the conversation online during a crisis, respond to rumors and provide updates when they become available.

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  • 1. Social Media Roundup Social Media inCrisis CommunicationsUsing social media to inform the public and correct misinformation during times of crisis
  • 2. Social Media Roundup AgendaThis week’s Social Media Roundup will examine how toappropriately use social media resources in crisis communications.• Introduction• Why communicate during crises?• Informing the media• Keeping Army communities informed• Building trust• Creating a plan• Listen and respond• Social media tips for crisis communication• Summary
  • 3. Social Media RoundupWhen disaster strikes  In life, everything doesn’t always go according to plan. Crises happen, and when they happen to an Army organization, it’s big news.  From installation shootings to natural disasters, the Army has encountered multiple crises over the years.  When a crisis occurs, there is often little time to wait to respond. Crisis response must be swift. Effective communication with the media, Soldiers and the public is crucial.
  • 4. Social Media RoundupWhen disaster strikes  In today’s society, social media moves information faster than ever. This includes both correct and incorrect information.  To effectively communicate during and after a crisis, it’s important that a crisis communication plan includes the use of social media resources.  If Soldiers and the public are getting their information from a Twitter feed or their Facebook wall, then Army organizations need to be prepared to send the most updated and accurate information to those locations.
  • 5. Social Media RoundupWhy communicate during a crisis?The importance of information distribution during unplanned events
  • 6. Social Media Roundup Why communicate during a crisis? The 2009 crisis at Fort Hood illustrated how important social media is in crisis communications. Before the shootings, conversation on social media platforms about Fort Hood was negligible, but on the day of the shootings, mentions of Fort Hood skyrocketed on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Any garrison might face a similar situation at any moment. More and more garrison commanders are understanding the need for a dynamic social media program to complement their crisis communication plan.
  • 7. Social Media Roundup Why communicate during a crisis? When a crisis strikes, those first few hours are the most critical. Not only is it vitally important to control the situation on site, but it’s important to inform the public and disseminate the most up-to-date information. Organizations must get in front of the story. Give the basic facts early and provide more information as it comes available. Media members do not have open access to installations, so provide information in a timely manner. Once accurate stories are published by the media, it helps to link to the coverage on Facebook. This helps distribute information to a broader audience.
  • 8. Social Media Roundup Informing the mediaGetting in front of the story and feeding the media information
  • 9. Social Media RoundupInforming the media It’s the job of the media to report the news. They will report on an event whether or not you reach out to them. To make sure the correct information gets out to the public, organizations need to communicate with the media during crises. Social media is an excellent way to put out information to a broad media audience. Rather than waiting to put out a press release, or reaching out to each individual reporter, social media tools help spread information quickly and effectively.
  • 10. Social Media RoundupKeeping Army communities informed Using social media to get information to Soldiers and Families
  • 11. Social Media RoundupKeeping Soldiers informed During times of crisis, it’s important to communicate not only with the media, but with Army communities close to the incident as well. Many garrisons are now using social media assets to communicate with Soldiers on an installation. Social media resources can be used to tell Soldiers where to go, who to call, locations to avoid and basic information that will help keep the Soldier safe during a crisis or unplanned event.
  • 12. Social Media Roundup Building trustEstablishing credibility with the public
  • 13. Social Media Roundup Building trust Building a solid social media following prior to a crisis is key. Become the “go-to” resource for timely and accurate information. Distribute community news like school closures, road closures and event information. When a crisis occurs, organizations should expect the public to look for information on social media platforms, so establish credibility on these sites beforehand. To build trust and credibility on a social media platform, it’s important to post often, but there are a few other measures an organization can take to make sure social media platforms are accessed in a time of crisis.
  • 14. Social Media Roundup Building trust Make sure you designate the social media site as “official.” Some users are still apprehensive about social media so a paragraph indicating the site is official puts many at ease. Post links to social media sites on official websites. This allows users to confirm the legitimacy of a social media presence. Promote social media sites on press releases and during interviews. Get the word out about social media sites. This will help drive people to social media presences for information during crises.
  • 15. Social Media Roundup Creating a planPreparing for the worst before it happens
  • 16. Social Media Roundup Creating a plan Much of the stress associated Checklist with a crisis can be mitigated Before crisis with a strong crisis communication plan. Coordinate with Public Affairs Office Each organization should have Designate who has posting authority a crisis communication plan in Designate who has release authority place, but it’s important to Keep list of logins and passwords on hand 24/7 include social media in this plan. During and after crisis An organization needs to be Monitor conversations and comments on social media platforms prepared to post pertinent Identify what information to distribute on each social information on social media media platform sites. They should also listen to Draft posts and submit for approval the conversation online, respond to rumors and provide Respond to questions, provide links and correct misinformation updates when they become available.
  • 17. Social Media Roundup Listen and respondKeeping track of the conversation and correcting misinformation
  • 18. Social Media Roundup Listen and respond One of the most important aspects of a social media crisis communication plan is monitoring the conversations occurring across social media platforms. Organizations need to be prepared to correct misinformation and rumors. Social media, by design, is conversational. People use social media to discuss events and interact with each other. Watch the conversations that occur after information about a crisis or unplanned event is posted. Be sure to correct misinformation and respond to rumors. By watching the conversation, organizations can also determine what information the public is looking for.
  • 19. Social Media RoundupSocial media tips for crisis communications
  • 20. Social Media Roundup Social media tips for crisis communication Trust doesn’t happen overnight: It is important to have a regularly updated channel of communication open between the organization and the key audiences before a crisis hits. Use social media platforms to communicate regularly. Post information as it comes in: There’s no need to wait for a formal press release. When you have verified information that an audience wants to know, post it. Answer questions: Answer questions as often as possible. Avoid just posting information on a social media presence. Be prepared to receive questions. Respond as quickly as possible through the most appropriate means of communication. Share information: Share critical information with a network of trusted social media sites, such as other Army command sites and official non-governmental sites. Create a hashtag that all organizations can use when updating on Twitter. Encourage people on the scene to send in information: Have individuals on the scene provide updates on their personal accounts or feed you information to post on the official command social sites. This is where a designated hashtag is very useful. Analyze results: Evaluate metrics and track user feedback. It’s important to evaluate how a social media presence performs during a crisis so adjustments can be made for the future.
  • 21. Social Media Roundup Summary When a crisis occurs, there is often little time to develop a plan or wait to respond. Crisis response must be swift. Effective communication with the media, Soldiers and the public is crucial. If Soldiers and the public are getting their information from their Twitter feed or their Facebook wall, then Army organizations need to be prepared to send the most updated and accurate information to those locations to make sure the public doesn’t rely on incorrect information. Social media resources can inform Soldiers about where they need to go, who to call, locations to avoid and basic information that will help keep the Soldier safe during a crisis or unplanned event. An organization needs to be prepared to post pertinent information on social media sites. They should also listen to the conversation online, respond to rumors and provide updates when they become available.
  • 22. Social Media Roundup Contact informationHave questions? Please feel free toreach out to us at the Online andSocial Media DivisionEmail:Ocpa.osmd@us.army.milTo review and download past editions of theSocial Media Roundup, visit our Slideshare siteat: http://www.slideshare.net/usarmysocialmedia.All Social Media Roundups are authorized to bedistributed to a broader audience.1/26/2010OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF PUBLIC AFFAIRSPENTAGON 22