It never hurts to be reminded that social media have raised the stakes in attentive response to online communications that might be damaging to an organization. Priya Ramesh, social media director of CRT-tanaka, advises that bad news travels quickly on social media. It's virtually a 24/7 challenge.
Priva lists "The Ten Commandments of Social Media Crisis Management." They come down to practicing accountable communication—the best kind of PR—but at "lightning speed." "The first 24 hours after negative news hits online are very critical," she writes on TheBuzzBin, "and case studies show that bad news spreads like wildfire on social media, especially on Twitter. This demands a sense of urgency to react in a matter of hours and not days."
Among other advisories, Priva recommends having a micro-site ready to go live with basic information on a crisis, should one arise. This suggests not only the urgency, but the challenge, of an online crisis situation. Having the outline of a site ready is one thing; adding pertinent, accurate information is another. Management needs to understand, and be committed to, the concept of rapid, accountable communication should a crisis occur. There isn't any time for dithering. The corporate name can be in the muck that quickly.
Candor, training, and monitoring are prime principles urged by Ms. Ramesh. There's nothing new about them as crisis communication principles, but they need to be applied speedily when a crisis occurs. Ideally, that includes being able to discover your own crisis by continually monitoring the Web. That, most likely, will require a team approach. Truly, this is a challenge to management's sense of what matters.
Read, consider, and adopt all 10 of Priya Ramesh's social media monitoring principles, but note that she has a bit of a crisis herself in Principle No. 9, "Thou shalt NOT feed the troll," which is garbled as we read it. There's also at least one misspelling in the post—all indications of the advisability of taking enough time to write clearly and proofread items that need to be posted promptly, even them.
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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