Using Twitter for Crisis Communication

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Gayle Weiswasser from TMG Strategies talks about how Twitter can be a powerful avenue for communicating when your company is in a crisis situation.

Gayle Weiswasser from TMG Strategies talks about how Twitter can be a powerful avenue for communicating when your company is in a crisis situation.

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  • 1. Twitter and Crisis Communications Presented by Gayle Weiswasser Vice President, TMG Strategies 1
  • 2. Social Media & Crisis Communications 1. Know the landscape. 2. Become part of the community. 3. Use social media tools to get the message out. 4. Be prepared to engage. 5. Don’t forget your employees. 6. Have a rapid response plan in place. 2
  • 3. Social Media & Crisis Communications 1. Know the landscape. Use tools – Twitter Search, Backtweets, TweetBeep - to find out who is talking about you and your competitors. 2. Become part of the community. Don’t wait until the crisis hits – build up followers and follow others. 3. Use social media tools to get the message out. Twitter only reaches 7.4% of internet users (projected 2009). 4. Be prepared to engage. Respond, retweet, answer questions. 5. Don’t forget your employees. Create an army of Twitterers. 6. Have a rapid response plan in place. Assign ownership, reserve names, do twitter drills. 3
  • 4. Pros and Cons of Twitter in Crisis Pros • Can reach people very quickly • Allows frequent updating and dissemination of information • Immediate feedback • People respond to genuine emotion, authentic tone, and dialogue – all strengths of Twitter Cons • 140 characters • Ephemeral • Individual responses can be time consuming • Easy to overtweet – use number of retweets to measure impact 4
  • 5. Twitter as Information Source FDA used Twitter for salmonella recall information FEMA warned of flooding and included shelter info Red Cross posted info about evacuations, shelters, and food distribution during Hurricane Ike using #ike Air Force used Twitter to correct misreporting on CNN about the crash of a C-17 plane. 5
  • 6. Twitter as Information Source • Tweets reach subscribers – “emergency evangelists” – then spread virally • Use of hashtags allows for regional, topical focus, and multiple authors/accounts on same topic • Retweeting as instant gauge of how compelling the information is 6
  • 7. Case Study: General Motors June 1, 2009 GM filed bankruptcy papers • Areas of social engagement • Blogs • Twitter • Webchats on GM Fastlane Blog • Facebook • Christopher Barger, GM Director of Social Media believes Twitter was the most important medium utilized • With so much information, room for interpretation, and consumer questions, real-time aspect of Twitter was most important and effective • “Team social media” enabled GM to be better engaged 7
  • 8. Case Study: Kentucky Grilled Chicken May 5, 2009 Oprah and the Kentucky Grilled Chicken 2-piece Meal Coupon Areas of social engagement • Twitter • YouTube • KFC was already active on Twitter - @kfc_colonel • When trouble arose, tweets were direct, honest, and authentic. KFC apologized, linked to YouTube video from the president, directed people to apology on Oprah, and spoke directly to customers: 8
  • 9. Keep In Mind… • Start off with an apology • Use Twitter to direct readers to your story, longer responses • Outline what you are doing to address the crisis • Share information as you get it, or simply say you have nothing new to add 9
  • 10. Keep In Mind… • Respond to questions • Enlist your employees to cover more ground… … but don’t oversaturate • Twitter’s impact is exponential… … but it is not a silver bullet 10