Social Media for Crisis Communications

December 9, 2009

PR practitioners — the good ones — know that having a crisis communications plan in place for their companies or clients is a key part of best practices.  And, as with pretty much every aspect of communications today, social media is making an impact here as well.  Thomas Crampton of Ogilvy PR’s 360 Digital Influence recently moderated a panel discussing both the effect of social media in creating a PR crisis, and the use of those same tools to manage, mitigate and recover.

As an indicator of how quickly things change in the web and social media worlds, take a look at slide 17, which shows “Search” as a factor in spreading buzz in hour 24 of a crisis.  That was accurate at the time this panel was conducted; as of Monday, with the announcement of Google real-time search results, “Search” has moved from hour 24 to hour 1. 

The implication here is pretty clear:  If you aren’t out in front of potential (or actual!) bad PR, someone else will be, and they’ll be doing it online where the results are searchable.  Dialogue and transparency are crucial, as is an official statement from your company that reaches customers and potential customers everywhere.

Check out the whole slide show for some more insights and a great framework for creating your own crisis communications plan.


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