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March 26, 2012
Social Media In Your Crisis Plan?
 
Organizations that pride themselves on having emergency communications plans drilled and at-the-ready should they be needed should consider whether they include social media capability. Corporate spokesmen can be upstaged on Twitter should a crisis occur. That may be obvious, but how many organizations are equipped to respond promptly and effectively if they are tweeted or challenged on other SM channels? We wonder. 

Jenny Traster on Business2Community writes that "Today when facing a crisis situation, you need to reach out to consumers through your company's blog, Facebook page, Twitter, Flickr and even YouTube accounts. This is where you can find your message spreading like wildfire." Or messages about you, of course.

To get you thinking about what your organization's doing, or not, on social media, Jenny lists a handful of techniques, including having preapproved tweets and Facebook posts for use during a crisis — at least advising people where to find you — and including social media in your crisis plan along with your spokespeople. 

"Gone are the days of only having a press conference with one main spokesperson," she advises. "Instead you need a trained team to strategically respond to comments left on social media accounts. Be prepared with preapproved tweets and Facebook posts that can be used during certain situations." And, of course, "Be transparent. Don't keep information to yourself. Share and keep your online community constantly informed." Providing you're on Twitter and Facebook in the first place.

(But you know, much as we like what Jenny Traster is saying about social media in a crisis, we don't know who she is. Although she is "a valued contributor to Business 2 Community," she hasn't yet filled out a profile there. That's not exactly walking the talk, is it?)   

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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