Leveraging Social Media Before, During and After a Crisis

Communicating during a crisis is often a complicated and delicate process. In recent years, crisis communication has been made even more challenging by the introduction of social media.

Traditional media typically provides an opportunity for one-way communication, enabling organizations to provide information to consumers. Social media differs in that it stimulates two-way communication – allowing organizations to provide information, but allowing consumers and audience members to respond to that information with questions and comments. As such, managing social media effectively requires increased attention and monitoring, especially in crisis situations.

Understanding how to manage and leverage social media before, during and after a crisis is imperative in this day and age. Here are some best practices to keep in mind when preparing for and executing crisis communication involving social media.

Before

  • Use social media regularly to become proficient and to understand its strengths and limitations.
  • Use analytics to determine which social media method is best to reach your target audience.
  • Update your social media platforms to establish a following.
  • Identify credible contributors.

During

  • Know what you can release and when you can release it.
  • Assess public opinion to gauge your handling of the event.
  • Update platforms constantly with key messages, news releases, fact sheets, links to other credible sites, reviews of past cases, images, videos, etc.

After

  • Evaluate public comments: what the public is saying about how you handled the event.
  • Determine public opinion and compare it to media coverage.
  • Communicate via social media to correct/counter misinformation and persistent rumors.

Source: Adam Wine, U.S. Coast Guard, Chief of Public Affairs Programs Branch

Want to learn more? LCI has pioneered the Online War Room, a proprietary, real-time social media platform that demonstrates how crises unfold via social media – and how to prepare for it. Contact us at [email protected] and we’ll show you how.

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