Use of social media in crisis communication


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Presentation for the Control Room Communications Conference on December 12, 2012 in Copenhagen

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Use of social media in crisis communication

  1. 1. THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA FORCRISIS COMMUNICATIONMarc van Daele | Control Room Communications Conference | 2012-12-11 | Copenhagen
  2. 2. Marc van DaeleCommunication Manager, City of Zwijndrecht (Belgium)Vice-President Kortom, Association for Public Communication @marcvandaele
  3. 3. 870 communication professionalsFederal, regional and local authoritiesKORTOMAssociation for Public Communication @kortomvzw
  4. 4. • 60 000 visitors• 5 people died• 140 needed medical care• Massive use of social media for different purposes• None by the authorities or the organisers• Many reports and analyses days and weeks after the disaster
  5. 5. Kortom to establish guidelines • Use of social media in crisis communication • Target groups – Communication officers in emergency management – Emergency services • Goal: Guideline document
  6. 6. Lots of joint effort and a bit of web2.0 • Problem: no experts in use of social media in crisis communication • Solution: – 43 communication experts from both public and private organisations – 4 working groups – One wiki • Deliverable: Guideline document in Dutch, French and English
  7. 7. Wiki to gather and complete information
  8. 8. Emergency management in Belgium Federal government determines 5 disciplines 1. Fire service 2. Medical assistance 3. Police 4. Logistical aid 5. Information for citizens Managed by mayor, governor or minister of home affairs
  9. 9. Crisis room 4. Logistics 3. Police Policy 2. Medical 5. Communication 1. Fire service Company / org. Liaison
  10. 10. Crisis communicationFrom 1.0 to 2.0 • Alarm • Eye witnesses publish facts • Meeting on facebook • Collecting facts and • Eye witnesses share video information footage on Youtube • Planning communication • Online news sites start actions (almost) live reporting • Writing a press release • Online news sites put up a • Validation of the press twitter window release • Press monitors social • Sending press release media for news gathering • Use of other channels • There is no such thing as validated information
  11. 11. Using social media in crisis communication? Which social media? Don’t focus on the media. Focus on “social”.
  12. 12. Accounts to use Account managed by the authorities 2 solutions for emergency communication 1. Existing official account 2. Specific emergency account – Official account has high credibility – Authorities should promote the account – Build a network of friends and followers – Identify users with influence and opinion leaders
  13. 13. Accounts to use Account managed by the authorities Account managed by emergency services – Fire services and police -> high credibility – Proces information during short crises – Multi-disciplinary -> authority accounts take over
  14. 14. Accounts to use Account managed by the authorities Account managed by emergency services Personal accounts of staff – Often interesting network – Can help to spread messages
  15. 15. Organisation of communication
  16. 16. Before the crisis• Profiles and accounts ready and widely published.• Select which social media are most suited.• Think about #tags.• Inventory of social networks with staff.• Communication with organisers• Dark site• Practice
  17. 17. During the crisisORGANISATION• Communicate the same message everywhere.• One person to monitor social media.• Validation based upon trust rather than signatures.• Direct access to Belga (Belgian press agency)• Access to the “marquee” on national media• Organise and manage with focus on target groups and co-operation with organisers/companies
  18. 18. During the crisisATTITUDE• Stealing thunder• Process information as a solution for information gap• Standard messages• Repetition• Answer questions
  19. 19. After the crisis• Salvage• Recovery• Business continuity• End of emergency measures• Victim care• Reception facilities• Grieving register
  20. 20. After the crisisEVEN LATER• Insurance & compensation• Results of investigative committees• Lessons identified and lessons learned
  21. 21. Deployment of people• Communication manager• Politics (mayor, governor, minister)• Dir Info (@ operational command post)• Spokespeople from disciplines• Company / organisation
  22. 22. Communication resources• Social media like twitter and facebook• Website• SMS• e-newsletter• RSS• Location based services
  23. 23. MonitoringPURPOSE• Collecting information – 5 W’s (who, what, where, when, why) – Observe how an emergency is developing – Gain insight in the entire scope – Gain insight in parties involved• Actions – Managing the crisis (assistance, maintaining order, providing information) – Communication in the broadest sense (a.o. PR actions to communities
  24. 24. MonitoringBEFORE THE EMERGENCY• Set-up a monitoring team• Make a hashtag strategy• Inform social networks of upcoming event to prevent blocking (spam)• Investigate what social networks are used by target groups• Test and practice
  25. 25. MonitoringDURING THE EMERGENCY• During an event, before a crisis, monitor to see where target groups are communicating.• Observe, analyse and provide information to the crisis team• The monitoring team does NOT publish messages on social media.
  26. 26. MonitoringAFTER THE EMERGENCYAnalysis of social media use:• Networks used by target groups• Topics and messages published• Behaviour• Hashtags
  27. 27. Dark site: integration of communication channels • Communication hub • RSS feed • Redundant capacity (high number of hits) • Blogging platform (Wordpress or Posterous)
  28. 28. Dark site: integration of communication channels ADVANTAGES OF A BLOG • Easy setup • Integration in existing website • Can be kept offline until there is a crisis • Scenario planning, prepare reactive statements, etc • Management by non-IT person • Easy integration in social media • Redundant capacity
  29. 29. SummaryACCOUNTS• Create accounts, promote and use them.• Analyse influencers and monitor.• Make agreements with accountmanagers from other disciplines and with staff members.• If D5 does not manage official accounts, make agreements.• Communicate with all staff members about the social media plans in emergencies.
  30. 30. SummaryACCOUNTSORGANISATION & RESOURCES• Make agreements with mayor/governor concerning workflow.• Compile a D5-team and determine the roles and resources required.• Consider creating an e-newsletter.• Make a hashtag strategy.• Practice crisis communication, including social media.
  31. 31. Recommendations to organisers• Make a media independent crisis communication plan.• Ensure a minimal presence on social media• Collect e-mail addresses for crisis e-newsletter.• Print URL, emergency number and #tag on wristbands.• Communicatie the official account, #tag and URL for the event.• Provide Wi-Fi and make arrangements with telecom operators for better mobile phone coverage.• Multiple day events: provide lockers to recharge mobile phones.
  32. 32. Recommendations to individuals• Follow accounts from official bodies for correct information.• Ensure that everyone can notify their home. Save the network by not sending large files.• When retweeting, remove the official #tag. Don’t overload the flow of information.• Check whether there is already a # / safehouse before creating one.• Use the official #tag.• Indicate whether you are OK on your own facebook status.
  33. 33. @kortomvzw @marcvandaeleDownload the guidelines in Dutch, French and English on