What is the number one thing you can do to make this year crisis free online for your organization?
The answer is have a crisis communications plan where online is integrated. That is right, integrating social media into your crisis communications plan. You should not have a separate plan for online situations. A solid crisis communications plan will incorporate all channels of communications including social media. It all should work together.
So how can you can you integrate social media into your existing plan?
Here are some concepts you need to think about when putting social media into your plan:
• Not censoring criticism on your blog, Facebook page, or YouTube channel. This is a very difficult concept for an organization to wrap their minds around. Removing an offending comment risks blowback, as evidenced by Nestlé’s handling of Greenpeace’s YouTube video or Chapstick deleting comments on their Facebook page.
You should have posted on your online platforms terms and guidelines for acceptable community behavior. If someone or group is behaving against those community guidelines then you can remove those comments. However, if comments are within those guidelines and regardless if you don’t like what is being said, you shouldn’t delete. If it is an attack on your organization’s blog then it is within your right to disable comments.
• Open to listening to and understanding what negative commenters want. You need to find out what they want before you can respond. Do they want an apology? Acknowledgement? Do they demand change? Respond directly to the person. This is where those relationships built with your online communities will pay off. Often, your champions will respond for you righting the situation before you even have to get involved.
• Writing for social media. Language and tone is key. Understand that each social media channel will have a different tone due to it targeting different audiences. It all has to say the same thing, but just said differently. Keep in mind social media is more fluid and relaxed. It is conversional. What works in a media release, website or brochure, won’t necessarily work on Twitter or Facebook. You can write in a social manner and be professional. Good idea to have any statements for social media approved by legal as you would for any holding statement in a crisis communications plan.
Having a plan in place can help you make 2015 a crisis free online year for your organization. Contact us if you need assistance. This is what we do for organizations!
Social Media Crisis Communications: Preparing for, Preventing, and Surviving a Public Relations #Fail is now available in eBook format. Buy it now! (If you like the book, please leave a review; it is greatly appreciated)
TIME CRUNCH? Are you putting your crisis communications plan together and need help? Or are currently dealing with a crisis and need crisis communications assistance? Get help NOW. Contact Ann Marie at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 302.563.0992 today.