Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Crisis Communication & Social Media: Understanding PR 2.0's Role in Crisis Response


Published on

There's a saying: A happy customer tells a few friends ... an unhappy one tells Google. Thanks to social media, news travels lightning fast, so businesses need to develop crisis communication plans that account for online situations and responses. This "Crisis Communication 2.0" presentation was first delivered at the Columbus Chamber of Commerce's Small Business Forum.

Published in: Business, Technology
  • Some really great tips here. Social media hasn't changed the core principles of crisis communication, but it has established a new climate for how quickly crises can emerge and how far they can spread. And in responding to incidents, social media requires greater responsiveness and transparency than imagined even five years ago. Any business which has not fully considered the impact of social media on its crisis management planning has a reputation which is inadequately protected.

    For my own top five tips for online reputation management, please take a look here:

    Jonathan Hemus
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here

Crisis Communication & Social Media: Understanding PR 2.0's Role in Crisis Response

  1. 1. Crisis Communication 2.0 #SBFLA Heather Whaling
  2. 2. The Ranger Station Fire • 10-year old Ford fan site receives a cease & desist letter – Remove the site – Write a $5,000 check to Ford • The Ranger Station blogs about it – 916 comments in less than 24 hours • 1:30 a.m.: @ScottMonty receives the first tweet about the situation with a link to another angry fan site • Responds at 7:29 a.m.: “Thanks for letting me know. I’m looking into that this morning.”
  3. 3. 10:54 a.m. @pblackshaw I was made aware of it this morning and I’m tracking down our trademark counsel to weight in on it. Not good. 10:55 a.m. @badgergraveling I’m on it. Getting our legal team’s perspective and trying to stop a PR nightmare. 4:55 p.m. @KrisColvin We’re not shutting the site down. We’re just asking that they stop selling counterfeit material. #Ford 1:32 p.m. Excuse me for just one moment. CALGON TAKE ME AWAAAAAYYY!! Thanks. I’m all set now. 138 tweets from @ScottMonty
  4. 4. The Saga Continues … • Scott asked his followers to retweet updates – For every person who retweeted one of Scott’s messages, it was made available to ~747 additional people • Instead of just tweeting the official statement, Scott called the site’s owner, who updated the blog. – Scott left Ford’s official comment on that post • If Scott didn’t have pre-existing credibility in online circles, crisis would have been much, much worse. Credit: David Plouffe,
  5. 5. Do you ignore a ringing phone?Do you ignore a ringing phone? Social media is the new phone. You canSocial media is the new phone. You can’’t ignore it.t ignore it.
  6. 6. From BusinessWeek: “Many companies are being victimized by social media rather than capitalizing on it because they're too slow and ill- equipped to react to negative comments that can damage their brands.”
  7. 7. Identifying a Crisis • Death/accident • Crime • Fire/natural disasters • Embezzlement • Bankruptcy • Inappropriate communication • Controversial personnel decisions • Online comments • Product flaws • Bad customer service • Hacked website • Negative reviews • Your turn: What else?
  8. 8. Effective way to reach the masses? How to convey key messages? How to prepare? Media of concern? Google Ad WordsLetter to the editor Video on YouTube, blog post, updated home page CEO quoted in paper Pre-approved tweets & status updates Pre-approved release Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube & other online outlets Traditional media NowThen
  9. 9. What You Need to Know • Lightning fast • No 9-5 or weekend breaks • Broadcasting “canned” messages won’t work • Search results define reputation If you’re not quick, you’re not relevant. tweetable tip:
  10. 10. From the Wall Street Journal: "If you just go to Twitter when you have a crisis, you will have no followers and no credibility. The key to using Twitter effectively is to build trust with people who are relevant to your business.” -- Shel Israel
  11. 11. Preparation = Success • Before a crisis happens: – Build a strong online network – Establish relationships with journalists – Train the online team to spot a potential crisis – Identify industry- or geographic-specific online influencers Don’t wait for a crisis to strike to build a your network. tweetable tip:
  12. 12. 5 Steps to Develop a Crisis Communication Plan
  13. 13. Step 1: Establish the Team • Management • Legal • Operations • Labor relations • Department heads impacted by crisis • PR (internal and external) • Community manager New addition to the crisis team: An online spokesperson tweetable tip:
  14. 14. Step 2: Identify & Prepare Spokespeople • Media training – Convey key messages – Block & bridge – Comfort with cameras – Never say “No Comment” • Online spokesperson/community manager
  15. 15. Step 3: Develop Processes & Protocols • Chain of command • Approval processes • If a reporter “scoops” story - what’s the appropriate response? • How will you respond if a crisis appears to be brewing online? Avoid wasting time in a crisis by creating clear processes in advance. tweetable tip:
  16. 16. Step 4: Understand PR 2.0 • Social media is powerful. How we integrate the tools determines success – Execs need to be as well versed as the 22 YO • Who is saying what? And where? • Free online monitoring tools: – Google Alerts – Addict-o-Matic – Hootesuite/Tweetdeck – Online monitoring is necessary during a crisis situation. tweetable tip:
  17. 17. Search Queries to Monitor • “product+sucks” • “company+sucks” • “die+company” • “hate+company” • “fail+company” • “fail+product” Monitor company name + terms like suck, fail & die to find unhappy customers tweetable tip:
  18. 18. • 20,000 “gripe sites” (end with* – Only 2,000 sites end with • 35% of companies surveyed own the domain name for their brand followed by “sucks” Survey: Fairwinds, 2008
  19. 19. Case Study: First Mariner Bank
  20. 20. Fish where the fish areFish where the fish are ……
  21. 21. Where are conversations happening? • Blogs & comments • Forums • Social networks (including niche networks) • Customer networks/sites • Groups In a crisis, respond where the relevant conversations occur. tweetable tip:
  22. 22. Online Tactics & Tools • Update: – Twitter – Facebook – Blog/Website • Other tactics to consider: – Live-stream a press conference (Ustream) – Virtual blogger briefing – Video update from CEO/spokesperson (Flip cam) – Social media release ( – Email – “Dark” site – Google AdWords
  23. 23. Step 5: Role Play • Brainstorm potential crisis scenarios • Create response templates • Conduct crisis “drills” Practice makes perfect. Prepare by conducting crisis drills. tweetable tip:
  24. 24. Heather Whaling @prTini for slides & resources: subscribe to my blog: Collaboration. Integration. Social Good.