As Businesses, organizations and municipalities increasingly turn to Social Media during disasters to get their messages out, they are confronted with limitations. These limitations are being overlooked in many cases. Some of these limitations can cause issues themselves cause issues. While others are created from not following crisis communications best practices. The problem is exacerbated by the public’s expectation in some cases for these messages to be shared in this space. Below we share some tips on how to deal with these issues.
Though useful as a medium, Social Media should be utilized as an additional channel to get a message out, but not the main or only medium utilized. While Social Media platforms such as twitter, could end or adjust throttling they put in place, it is the responsibility of the organization to realize such limitations and adjust and plan accordingly.
How did you get your messages out to the public before Social Media? These methods should not be replace by communicating through Social Media. They should be enhanced by Social Media. Likewise, you should not necessarily be tweeting, or posting every single instance. Updates should be used sparingly, and if you outsource or utilize Social Media “experts” you should consider looking for or providing crisis based communications training in addition to other expertise.
Some important things to consider when implementing or utilizing a Social Media Crisis Communications Plan:
- Who will be posting the messages?
- What frequency or how often should you post these messages?
- Consider posting the main messages onto a website (with updates) and sharing the link
- What is your plan if you can no longer utilize Social Media to get your message out?
- As in all crisis communications the message should be the same, the medium is the thing that changes
Do you have any lessons learned from using Social Media in a crisis? If so we would love to hear about them here.