Social Media As A Tool In Crisis Communication
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Social Media As A Tool In Crisis Communication

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Social Media As A Tool In Crisis Communication Social Media As A Tool In Crisis Communication Document Transcript

  • Social  Media  as  a  Tool  in  Crisis  Communication    by David J Mistick CPM, CBRMCrisis  communication  is  an  essential  part  of  any  corporate  or  institutional  communication  plan.  Today  social  media  plays  in  increasingly  important  part  of  it.    Property  owners  and  managers  must  be  cognizant  of  this  fact,  and  embrace  its  utility  as  a  tool  in  the  organization’s  overall  enterprise  risk  management  program.    The  speed  and  ease  of  use  take  the  value  of  social  media  beyond  being  a  headline  banner.  This  methodology  requests  assistance,  identifies  access,  ties  to  mapping  resources,  provides  safety  check-­‐ins,  and  provides  a  vehicle  for  relief  and  fundraising.  For  business  organizations  and  institutions  it  is  an  important  component  of  business  resilience  communication.  It  moves  these  groups  beyond  call  trees,  800  numbers,  and  chat  boards.  Directing  and  maintaining  social  media  for  these  organizations  has  now  become  an  identifiable  responsibility  in  the  overall  disaster  or  business  resilience  program.    The  value  of  social  media  as  a  disaster  tool  is  evidenced  in  recent  research  compiled  by  Best  Communication  Company,  LTD,  a  provider  of  social  media  packages  in  Japan.  This  research  was  performed  pre-­‐and  post-­‐the  March  11,  2011  earthquake.  The  study  reports  that  after  the  earthquake  the  use  of  traditional  communication  –  i.e.  telephones  and  e-­‐mail  –  increased,  but  not  at  the  rate  of  social  media.  This  research  identifies  and  uptick  of  66-­‐70%  following  the  earthquake.  This  usage  includes  both  public  media  as  well  as  internal  corporate  or  organizational  social  tools.  Data  collected  confirms  that  70%  of  those  surveyed  used  Twitter,  37%  used  Facebook,  16%  You  Tube,  16%  intranet,  and  12%  MIXI  (a  Japanese  social  network.)    In  our  consulting  practice  we  have  long  counseled  clients  of  the  importance  of  having  a  single  spokesperson  to  address  the  news  media  to  assure  a  single  cohesive  message  to  be  delivered  to  the  public,  clients,  customers,  suppliers  and  employees.  Today  we  add  managing  social  media  to  the  responsibilities  to  that  spokesperson  or  their  primary  assistant.    Utilizing  social  media  effectively  requires  these  groups  to  develop  strategies  that  put  it  into  play  all  along  the  disaster  continuum  –  pre-­‐disaster,  during  the  event,  and  post-­‐disaster,  communicating  both  externally  and  internally.    Corporately,  social  media  managers  must  also  be  alert  to  external  reports  about  their  businesses.  As  we  have  seen  in  major  disasters  for  decades,  competitors  will  use  misinformation  to  damage  or  re-­‐direct  the  market  share  of  companies  in  disaster  impact  zones.  Now  more  than  ever,  scouring  the  Internet  for  damaging  or  misleading  information  is  an  essential  part  of  any  company’s  resilience  plan.    Prompt,  thoughtful  response  to  un-­‐factual  posts  about  your  business  by  others  is  required  to  maintain  business  stability.    Social  media  should  be  incorporated  into  an  organization’s  overall  business  continuity  strategy.  As  such  it  should  be  exercised  like  any  part  of  the  BCP.    During  
  • gaming  or  exercising  events,  the  crisis  communication  coordinator  should  be  posed  with  questions  as  to  how  the  entity  would  utilize  social  media  to  their  benefit.  It  will  also  clue  stakeholders  as  to  the  type  of  information  that  may  be  forthcoming  from  the  assigned  communicator.  This  is  an  important  consideration  and  organizational  responsibility.  It  is  not  a  task  to  be  assigned  as  a  low  priority.      © 2012 David J Mistick, All Rights Reserved
  •  Social  Media  as  a  Tool  in  Crisis  Communication    You  have  only  to  look  at  certain  social  media  miscues  to  see  how  mistakes  have  had  significant  negative  impacts  on  various  corporations  on  market  share,  stock  prices,  and  brand  image.  A  2011  survey  by  Symantec  found  the  top  three  social  media  incidents  the  typical  enterprise  experienced  were  employees  sharing  too  much  information  in  public  form,  the  loss  or  exposure  of  confidential  information,  and  increased  exposure  to  litigation.  In  a  disaster  these  may  be  obfuscated  by  risk  of  injury  and  death.    Research  conducted  by  the  University  of  Western  Sydney  after  the  Queensland  floods  concluded:  “social  media  can  act  as  amplifiers  of  affected  information  and  also  help  people  to  not  feel  alone.”  The  reports  presents  the  case  that  social  media  is  highly  important  in  managing  rumors  and  sensationalized  media  reporting.  “Overwhelmingly  people  reported  feeling  a  sense  of  connectedness  and  usefulness,  felt  supported  by  others  and  felt  encouraged.”  Property  owners  and  managers  need  to  harness  and  manage  the  power  of  social  media.    By:  David  Mistick  CPM,  CBRM    Circumspex  LLC    
  • Social  Media  as  a  Tool  in  Crisis  Communication    [Potential  Side  Bar}    Social  Media  Tips      •    Create  and  maintain  key  contacts,  both  internally  and  externally    •    When  posting,  be  clear  as  to  whether  this  information  is  validated  by  you    internally  or  ban  an  external  source    •    Be  aware  of  the  timeliness  of  your  posts.  Critical  information  may  need  to    appear  more  than  a  single  time    •    Maintain  close  administrative  control  over  the  official  “voice”  or  the  organization.  In  planning  make  certain  employees  understand  they  cannot  speak  for  the  company.    •    Consider  the  fact  that  the  social  media  desk  may  need  to  be  operated  24/7.    
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