CRISIS COMM IN SMPR and Social MediaWeber State UniversityJon McBrideEH 306
What we’ll cover• Crisis Communication Intro• Windgate at Weber – natural disaster• Snowbasin Staffer Snafu – personal disaster• Things We Learned• Random Other Things to Talk About • WSU SM engagement • WSU SM beefy analytics
Crisis Communications• In Public Relations, what kind of crises require us to come up with strategic communication?
Crisis Communication• Historically, media relations may have been your most important medium in crisis comm• Today, the media are getting their information from SM channels• The challenge is to get out and mold the message before somebody else does
Let’s learn by examples• Windy, windy Weber …• 7 a.m.: Woke up to 50 MPH winds, didn’t have a message from WSU so came to work, parked in a place where I hoped my car wouldn’t get totaled by some flying object• 8 a.m.: got to my desk, first thing (like usual) checked the WSU FB page …
Windy, Windy Weber• Not bad, just a couple comments so far, but we need to say something• 8:15 a.m.: So I GO TO MY SUPERIOR to see what kind of message we want to get out• Why is it a good idea to consult your superior?
Windy, Windy Weber• My superior had been in touch with the campus police chief and the university VPs• There are specific things that they want said or not said … and for a variety of reasons (limiting our liability)• Synergy and unity important here• Takes a huge load off of my shoulders … kind of nice for a change
Windy, Windy Weber• So … the message we were told to communicate was, er, not a great one• “Due to high winds on campus and flying debris, we advise everyone to stay inside.”• People did not like this at all … but that’s what we had and more or less than that could have been a problem• How so?
Windy, Windy Weber• 9:09 – 10:32 a.m.: I’m monitoring a lot and responding a little to comments that are flooding the page and our thread• Interaction on the page jumped significantly after we initially posted something• 10 a.m.-ish: Winds are up to 90 MPH, we’re getting reports of crazy stuff happening on campus
Windy, Windy Weber• 10:32 a.m.: Winds were getting crazier, people were getting crazier (needing to delete comments, not engaging trolls), finally administration got back to us with some more direction• Our VP has been monitoring the FB page, HE knows we have to get some more info out there • Facebook content was getting filtered to the president’s office
Windy, Windy Weber• Still not a ton of clarity• Notice the amount of shares on these posts• Very specific wording still
Windy, Windy Weber• 10:32 a.m. – 2:29 p.m.: Still monitoring and responding to comments, deleting more, looking for what’s next• 2 p.m.-ish: Winds are dying down• 2:29 p.m.: Post link to press release about clean up efforts
Windy, Windy Weber• Made it through the day, no major problems• My No. 1 response through all of it: • “Thanks for the feedback, [name]”• Even though the content we were posting out to news feeds was a little vague and official, we tried to make up for that with personalized responses • “This is all the information we have from the administration at this time.”
Windy, Windy Weber• Main takeaways from the experience: • We communicated the content in a timely manner • We provided as many details as we could • We responded to every question we received • We addressed every concern that we were able to • We had 354 interactions on the page (likes+posts from users) • We provided a platform for people to communicate openly, in a place with valuable information and fellow collaborators • We produced content that was used in the president’s office to shape real-time decision making
Snowbasin Staffer Snafu• Another type of Crisis Communication = when humans do stupid things• Other humans who spend time on the internet like to bring attention to when humans do stupid things• This is becoming a greater and greater source of crisis communications for organizations
Snowbasin Staffer Snafu• Key takeaways: • Tell your employees to behave (cameras are everywhere), educate about social media • Get out ahead of the problem • At least let people know you’re there, even if you can’t really say anything special … don’t just make a one-and-done post • Do users know more about social media PR than you do??? If so, that’s embarrassing. • Own up to a problem • Don’t let a bad day turn into bad months, address the problem so that everyone can move on
WSU Facebook Engagement• Keys: • Mix up the content – photos, videos, questions, crowdsourcing • Stay consistent – posting calendar, always be looking • Proofread your posts – grammar, spelling, take out URLs • Pay attention – know what’s working in the industry • Content in king!!!