Q: In your industry/with your clients, how have you seen social media escalate a crisis and how have you handled it?
A: No matter where a crisis originates these days, one thing’s for sure: it will find its way to social media – fast! Social media brings a whole new set of risks to the table when it comes to crises as it can quickly help amplify the crisis and its potentially to go viral. No longer is the reach solely local for a crisis that would have otherwise remained so. The risk, and the reach, is now always global.
However, by understanding and implementing the new rules of crisis communications, as well as understanding the expectations of your audience and market, organizations don’t need to fear social media as it pertains to crisis management and crisis communications.
That said, when a client calls me in the midst of a crisis, the first thing I do is scope out the situation and set up my monitoring posts. From there, I help them develop their key message points and communicate them accordingly across the many channels that are awaiting a response. This alone can help quiet the noise. From there, it’s about doing what needs to be done, behind the scenes, to manage the crisis, while always continuing to communicate with the organization’s stakeholders.
Listening is a crisis communications skill that absolutely needs to be acquired these days. And by listening I don’t just mean monitoring. I mean actually listening. What questions are being posed? What concerns are being expressed? What is the ratio of negative, positive and neutral sentiment and what’s needed to turn the negative into neutral or, better yet, positive?
From there, it’s about communicating the right messages and information and focusing on continuing to build or strengthen the relationships that the brand shares with its stakeholders.
Q: What are the communications-related hot topics in your industry today?
A: I’d say that the use of, and management of, social media as it pertains to crisis and issues management is definitely a hot topic these days.
Stay tuned for Part 2 that will address the top 3 social media communication skills!
Melissa Agnes specializes in crisis response, prevention, planning and training for the digital age. Working with national organizations and global enterprises, Melissa offers a variety of specialized services that help today’s biggest and brightest brands prepare for, prevent and overcome any type of crisis situation. Connect with Melissa on Twitterand Linkedin.