4 ways to use social monitoring to improve crisis management and communication
Every now and then we read in the papers about a big brand trying to overcome a PR crisis. Just like the fatal and bizarre accidents we read about in the papers, we conveniently assume that our company won’t get itself embroiled in a PR mess. But it happens more often than you think. When it does, you need to be prepared for it. A crisis management plan helps you decide who will lead the responses internally and who will decide what stance the company should take. But even the best PR crisis plan needs tweaking when implemented so that it represents the current crisis that needs to be addressed.
Here’s how companies can use social monitoring for PR crisis management:
People often post facts and pictures from the scene of the crisis. This kind of information is valuable as it can help you establish the sequence of events. However, make sure you verify information before acting on it. Although useful in most cases, text-based information can also be embellished and sensationalised. It is true that photos don’t lie, but one can easily alter them to signify something entirely different. Therefore, it’s best to confirm facts to protect yourself against a hoax or deceit.
Choose your keywords
Determine a set of hashtags, keywords, or usernames which your social media monitoring service can track. Users who are interested to know more about the crisis but aren’t necessarily involved in it typically create new hashtags. You’ll only be able to find the right information online if you know which hashtags are popularly associated with the crisis at hand. Identifying hashtags quickly or creating your own hashtags which people can use will help you identify relevant social media posts.
Draft a news release
If your company is stuck in the middle of a crisis, you must strive to be the most credible and timely news source about the crisis. Responding quickly is critical in a crisis situation. If you have reporter friends or journalists who your company closely works with, tell them to expect a forthcoming release from your end. Communicate with the decision-makers in your company and draft an accurate news release. The crisis management team should continuously release new updates on the situation on the company website, to the media, through social media channels, and to employees.
Monitor social media after the immediate crisis passes
While Twitter is often the primary source of reports on crisis situations, make sure your crisis management team monitors other social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, and message boards. Start by looking for trending hashtags about your company and the crisis. If an individual has cited incorrect information, make sure you clear the facts by directing them to your press release. Sharing news reports will add credibility to your statements as people are more likely to trust third-party sources.
Social media is an indispensable resource in times of a crisis. Communicating effectively can establish your company as a reliable source of credible information about the crisis.
Read Also: Are you PR-proof to weather a crisis?