Social Media Crisis Management Strategies

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    Why you need social media for crisis management

    “Enterprises simply cannot afford to ignore social media as a crisis communications tool,” said Andrew Walls, research vice president at Gartner. “In many cases, social media may represent the only available means of locating and contacting personnel; providing stakeholders with the information and assistance they need; informing citizens, customers and partners of product/service availability; and taking other business-critical actions following a disruptive event.”

    This quote, from a Gartner Newsroom release, is a perfect example of exactly why every business needs the capability to use social media for crisis management. Let’s use our home state of California as an example. We could, at any given moment, have an earthquake. Now, if one of these earthquakes takes out telephone lines in the area, how exactly do you think you’re going to get ahold of your employees?

    Social media is the answer. There are few people today who sleep with their cell phone more than two feet away, and this presents the perfect avenue for communications in a crunch. These mobile web portals can receive emergency alerts or browse to internal company forums designed to inform, improve employee safety and facilitate coordination. As the quote says, this same capability can be used with business partners.

    Another thing to remember – when you’re in the midst of a crisis, the last thing you want to do is leave your customers hanging. Of course, it should be easy to keep them updated through those active Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages that you’ve already got going, provided that you’ve actually done the legwork ahead of time!

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    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management
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    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. , an international crisis management consultancy, and author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is Social Media Manager for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]