Crisis Management has been, historically, a function of the IT or Risk Management department for many companies and as social media continues to gain traction, savvy risk managers have incorporated social media into their crisis communication plans.
During an emergency, communication is always critical and being able to quickly reach your desired audience becomes vital to any team designed to respond. Social media is a part of our society and, for many, the main source of news and information. A company can capitalize on these social and business trends when considering how they plan for notifying their network of critical events that occur within the organization. In times of crisis companies should identify two things: the audience needed to be addressed, whether it be employees, insurance carriers, brokers, clients or everyone in your network; and the means through which the message will be delivered, such as a press release or live statement, email, social media networks, company website alert banner or posting a dedicated crisis page. Regardless of how you choose to deliver your message, using social media to engage your audience in addition to more traditional methods of communications is a great tool for any crisis response team. By providing a live stream of the situation, you can be proactive and tell the story that will likely be told regardless if you choose to address it or not.
Social media can be an effective communication tool during times of emergency and advices on how to effectively navigate the ever-recording internet are numerous. Whether you choose to use Twitter, Facebook, Google or any other social media network to engage your target audience, being a trustworthy source of information with a consistent position on the available facts is a paramount aspect of any ‘crisis plan’. Using the company website to alert your network during a time of crisis is a good way to communicate. Having a dedicated emergency page which remains private or ”dark” until a situation occurs is a great way to prepare to react when an emergency occurs; having a template style page which can be easily amended appropriately will provide your company the ability to react quickly during ominous times.
A colleague of mine recently wrote about “Black Swan” events and, while properly identifying and effectively mitigating risk is an ideal achievement for every company, doing so can sometimes be challenging. Apt forecasting and planning for a so called “Black Swan” event should now consider including social media networks during crisis communications. These are just a few ways to help prepare response teams for critical situations; if you would like to discuss more ways to improve or create crisis communications planning please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 732.395.4263.