Social Media When “It” Hits the Fan

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC

Twitter over capacityThere is so much to hate about social media. Yet there are so many new avenues of communications available to you during a crisis, that it becomes hard to hate social media. On the other hand, during a crisis social media can blow up with excessive criticism and hate. Add to that, the fact that your older executives may freak out when they read all of the negative hate speech, and then you have a real problem on your PR hands. However, it is impossible to overlook the power of circumventing the media in certain crises when you can’t get news coverage, by taking your message straight to your audience on social media. Also, it is gratifying to get positive feedback from people who were hungry for information and found solace knowing you provided them vital information right there on social media.

…whew!!

Are you as tired of this merry-go round as I am? Sorting it all out is nothing short of exhausting.

So what do you think? Does shiny and new beat tried and true? In other words, does shiny new social media serve you better than the traditional approach to crisis communications? The traditional approach I’m talking about mixes good media relations, with good employee relations and a perfect crisis communications plan.

What happens if you combine all of the new social media, the latest technology, great media relations and great crisis communications all at the same time? I have done it while in seven feet of floodwaters with no electricity for five days. I ended up on live television with CNN and the Weather Channel, broadcasting my story from the heart of a hurricane where even their own news crews couldn’t go. Would you like to learn the secrets of doing that?

InstagramSome of those secrets are in this article in Tactics

To help you sort it all out, you are invited to join me in Washington, D.C. on September 24th where we will explore the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to social media for crisis communications. Here is how to register with PRSA.

Do not come if you are expecting suggestions for one magic solution that works for every organization. There is no such thing.

Here is a sample of what you will hear.

Come prepared for a tailored solution. Come prepared to discover the right fit for your organization and not the force fit that legions of social media consultants have tried to cram down your throat.

You will explore not only the good and bad side of social media, but you will also discern which elements of a good crisis communications plan, good media relations, and good employee communications are vital.

You will see case studies of companies that have used social media brilliantly in a crisis as well as companies that have spent millions on social media only to find that no one really wanted to participate in their social media conversation.

Also on our agenda is a healthy list of actions you should take on a clear sunny day, in order to be prepared for your darkest day. You will discover that the core elements of a strong crisis communications plan can lay the foundation for every action you take during a crisis. You will be relieved to learn that most of the decisions you will make during your crisis and most of the statements you need to write and issue during a crisis can all be prepared months and years in advance.

Don’t forget speed. Fast communications is the secret spice of all effective crisis communications.facebook-like-button

One final thought if you sign up to join us: Clear your calendar for when you get back to the office because you will leave with a significant list of action items that you will want to work on as soon as you get home.

23 Tutorials on How to Effectively Use Social Media When the Next Katrina Hits

Today marks two years since Hurricane Isaac and ten years since Hurricane Katrina.

Isaac Flooding Gerard BraudIn that short time between these two hurricanes, media relations and crisis communications has been affected by social media and technology.

Are you ready to effectively communicate in your next big natural disaster, be it a tornado, snow storm, forest fire or hurricane?

Today we share tips on how to weather your storm with effective crisis communications, based on my coverage of Hurricane Isaac last year.

With seven feet of water in my yard, white caps rolling down my driveway, thousands of snakes, four 10-foot alligators and no electricity, I was able to broadcast live to CNN and The Weather Channel.

This series of 23 tutorials tells you how I did it and how you can do it too. Enjoy!

To view more videos on my hurricane coverage click here.

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Click here to read Lesson #1 Why Be An iReporter 

 

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Click here to read Lesson #2 Game Changers in Crisis Communication and iReporting

Tutorial #3 Still Gerard Braud

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Click here to read Lesson #3 Set Up Your IReporter Account 

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Click here to read Lesson #4 What is News?

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Click here to watch Lesson #5 Hurricane Isaac: iReports Before, During and After. Is This Guy Crazy?

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Click here to read Lesson #6 Get the Right Tools to be a CNN iReporter

 

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Click here to read Lesson #7 How a Guy in Mandeville, Louisiana Became a Source of Breaking News 

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Click here to read Lesson #8 How and Why to tell a Compare and Contrast Story 

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Click Here to Read Lesson #9 What to Say in Your iReport

Tutorial 10 Still Gerard Braud

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to read Lesson #10 Manage the Expectations of Your Audience

Tutorial 11 Still Gerard Braud

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to read Lesson #11 Where You Should Look When Using an iPad or Iphone for an iReport

Tutorial 12 Still Gerard Braud

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Click here to read Lesson #12 Good Lighting for Your iReport

Tutorial 13 Still Gerard Braud

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Click here to read Lesson #13 How to Manage Your Audio

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Click here to read Lesson #14 How to Properly Frame Your Video 

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Click here to read Lesson #15 When to use earbuds and headsets

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Click here to read Lesson #16 How and Why to Plan Movement in Your iReport

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Click here to read Lesson #17 The Secrets to Using Skype for a Live CNN Interview 

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Click here to read Lesson #18 Secrets to a Professional Reporter Style “Standup” While Holding Your IPhone at Arm’s Length 

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Click here to read Lesson #19 How to Shoot Great B-Roll  

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Click here to read Lesson #20 Learn Why Crap is King When it Comes to TV 

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Click here to read Lesson #21 Get Great New iReporter Gadgets 

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Click here to read Lesson #22 Keep it Short

 

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Click here to read Lesson #23 Final Thoughts on How You Can be an Award Winning iReporter

CNN iReport Tutorials Index

(Perspective: In 2013, CNN selected me as one of their top iReporters, out of more than 11,000 reporters. This is an index of a series of 23 lessons that share how to be a good iReporter and how to make CNN iReports a vital part of your crisis communication and media relations strategy.)

Click here to watch video

Click image to watch video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to read Lesson #1 Why Be An iReporter 

 

Click Image to Watch Video

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Click here to read Lesson #2 Game Changers in Crisis Communication and iReporting

Tutorial #3 Still Gerard Braud

Click image to watch video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to read Lesson #3 Set Up Your IReporter Account 

Click image to watch video

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Click here to read Lesson #4 What is News?

Click image to watch video

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Click here to watch Lesson #5 Hurricane Isaac: iReports Before, During and After. Is This Guy Crazy?

Click image to watch video

Click image to watch video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to read Lesson #6 Get the Right Tools to be a CNN iReporter

 

Click image to watch video

Click image to watch video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to read Lesson #7 How a Guy in Mandeville, Louisiana Became a Source of Breaking News 

Click image to watch video

Click image to watch video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to read Lesson #8 How and Why to tell a Compare and Contrast Story 

Click image to watch video

Click image to watch video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click Here to Read Lesson #9 What to Say in Your iReport

Tutorial 10 Still Gerard Braud

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to read Lesson #10 Manage the Expectations of Your Audience

Tutorial 11 Still Gerard Braud

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to read Lesson #11 Where You Should Look When Using an iPad or Iphone for an iReport

Tutorial 12 Still Gerard Braud

Click image to watch video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to read Lesson #12 Good Lighting for Your iReport

Tutorial 13 Still Gerard Braud

Click image to watch video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to read Lesson #13 How to Manage Your Audio

Click image to watch video

Click image to watch video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to read Lesson #14 How to Properly Frame Your Video 

Click image to watch video

Click image to watch video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to read Lesson #15 When to use earbuds and headsets

Click image to watch video

Click image to watch video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to read Lesson #16 How and Why to Plan Movement in Your iReport

Click image to watch video

Click image to watch video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to read Lesson #17 The Secrets to Using Skype for a Live CNN Interview 

Click image to watch video

Click image to watch video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to read Lesson #18 Secrets to a Professional Reporter Style “Standup” While Holding Your IPhone at Arm’s Length 

Click image to watch video

Click image to watch video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to read Lesson #19 How to Shoot Great B-Roll  

Click image to watch video

Click image to watch video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to read Lesson #20 Learn Why Crap is King When it Comes to TV 

Click image to watch video

Click image to watch video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to read Lesson #21 Get Great New iReporter Gadgets 

Click image to watch video

Click image to watch video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to read Lesson #22 Keep it Short

 

Click image to watch video

Click image to watch video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to read Lesson #23 Final Thoughts on How You Can be an Award Winning iReporter

“I Cannot Tell A Lie” — If George Washington’s Quote Applied to Social Media and Public Relations

By Gerard Braud

georgewashingtonYet one more group of public relations and marketing professionals has asked me to speak at their PR & Marketing conference about the wonderful ways social media will allow them to connect and sell to their customers. I love to speak at conferences, but I cannot tell a lie, especially about social media and the return on investment (ROI) for companies.

I cannot tell you to use social media for positive ROI without talking about the negative ROI.

Too many PR and marketing professionals still mistakenly think social media is their magic bullet. The truth is, one size does NOT fit all. One company may get great ROI through social media while other companies will generate zero buzz or attraction.

The reality is, one should never talk about the positive side of social media for sales and marketing without talking about the negative effects of social media. It can destroy an organization’s reputation, which then negatively affects the revenues. Social media is a dangerous double-edged sword that cuts both ways. I’ve spoken at many conferences which focus too heavily on social media marketing, without full consideration of the “the big picture.”

Some organizations and brands are a perfect fit for social media. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Chobani Yogurt, which benefited from a huge love fest on social media from people who first discovered the product when it first appeared on store shelves a few years ago. Their following developed organically and company benefited from the loyalty of their customers.

This might not be as true for a bank, hospital, electric company, oil company, etc.

One needs to consider the demographics of the social media audience. Chobani is a darling for the social media active 18 – 32 age group, especially among females.

facebook-like-buttonMeanwhile, many of my clients in the rural electric cooperative sector are in communities consisting of primarily older residents who are less active on social media and who are not constantly using their iPhones for calls, texting, and social media. Many are farmers and ranchers who are working the fields all day and not sitting in front of a computer, laptop, tablet or phone. Also, the rural residents who are young and active on social media don’t want to talk about, or follow, or “Like” their rural electric company, their bank, their hospital, or any of the other industries that don’t understand the true nature of social media.

Despite the success of Chobani on social media, when Chobani had a product recall recently, their brand got beat up by their detractors. Meanwhile, my rural electric co-ops, which get little traffic in good times, get a significant increase in traffic during their crisis events, especially when there is bad weather and a power outage.

In the world of social media, too much focus is on Facebook and Twitter, with not enough emphasis on YouTube and videos, which then requires photographic skills and trained spokespeople. In the world of social media, younger folks are leaving Facebook for Instagram and Pinterest. These forms of social media are even more difficult to use for ROI and sales for service industries, while it might be the best marketing for chic consumer brands. In the world of Twitter, only 16% of the population uses it, which makes it hard to use to reach customers, yet it is widely used by the media during a crisis.

Gerard Braud Audience 11In talking about social media one must be careful that young sales, PR & Marketing professionals who use social media daily, think the entire world is ready to embrace social media. The hypocrisy is that they want to market and sell their companies using social media, while the reality is that they have no personal desire to follow a bank, hospital or electric company on social media. A sales, marketing or PR person is doing a disservice to their organization to think they can significantly generate new customers and spread the world about new lines of business without recognizing that:

a) the demographics may not support their belief

b) the “sexiness” of the product may not support their beliefs

c) social media may have a greater negative impact on ROI than it has a positive impact on ROI.

The reality may be that they cannot justify the investment of their time in social media.

So… yes, I can customize a program for your conference if it is focused on all aspects of social media – the good, the bad and the ugly — but I cannot do a program that tells the audience social media is a rosy, wonderful world.

 

One Month After Sandy Hook: Effective Crisis Communications In Critical Times

One Month After Sandy Hook Elementary: Effective Crisis Communications In Critical Times

(Free conference call – Listen on Demand REGISTRATION IS FREE TO ALL)

[Editor’s Note: I recall the morning I received a frantic call from my daughter when there was a shooting on her campus. The school failed on a grand scale to achieve effective communications and failed at crisis communication. I hope this article and telecast will provide food for thought that leads to real change at schools and businesses.]

The tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut will raise many questions about school safety and gun control. What will it not do? The Sandy Hook shooting will likely not raise any discussions about effective crisis communications, although it should.

As television viewers, we see the coverage, but most people don’t realize that such a crisis immediately brings 500 media outlets and approximately 2,500 people to your town and to your front door, all with questions they want you to answer now.

Why no attention to communications? Schools will review emergency procedures. School safety consultants will call for more security measures. Companies that sell school text messaging systems will be in full sales mode. But few if any schools or school systems will do anything to prepare for the day when they might have to communicate with parents and the media about a tragedy at their own school.

The sad reality is that school shootings and workplace violence happens all too often. If you are the leader of a school or company, or the designated spokesperson, examine whether you are prepared to flawlessly and effectively communicate amid chaos, trauma and grief. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine if you had a personal relationship with any of these victims. Now imagine trying to talk with parents or loved ones to break the bad news, then respond to hundreds of media calls, while dealing with your own personal grief.

The worst time to deal with crisis communications is during the crisis. The best time to address all of these issues is on a clear sunny day.

As it relates to tragic shootings in schools, be aware of these realities:

• A text messaging system is not the same as a Crisis Communications Plan. A text messaging system is only a notification system. Your text messaging system may save lives on a college campus when you can warn students to take cover from an active shooter. But when those texts are going to parents, a text sent too soon will lead to panic with potentially thousands of parents attempting to reach the school. This traffic jam then keeps emergency responders from reaching the scene. A text messaging system is notification; it is not communications.

• If you are unfortunate enough to experience a shooting at your school or workplace, you can be assured the media will be on the scene in greater numbers and nearly as quickly as emergency responders. You have an obligation to speak to them within one hour of the onset of the crisis, regardless of how tragic and personal the event is. For that reason, on a clear sunny day you should write the statements you will say to the media, parents, employees or any other stakeholders. You must successfully use three types of sentences in such a pre-written statement, which would include 1) fill in the blank statements, 2) multiple choice statements, and 3) declarative statements that are true today and will still be true on the day of the crisis.  I’ve successfully used this system in every Crisis Communications Plan I’ve ever written. On the day of your crisis, your template can be customized for release within 10 minutes. This message should then be shared simultaneously with all audiences, including communications to the media, e-mail, the web, social media, employee meetings and with all stakeholders. No audience should be told anything that is not told to all audiences.

• Denial and ignorance are the greatest evils that keep organizations from writing an effective Crisis Communications Plans. Denial means many will never take this step because they don’t believe they will fall victim to such a tragedy, although they may spend money for all sorts of security measures and text messaging systems. Ignorance means they simply think that having a text messaging system, a public address system and a plan for a fire drill are enough. You will forever be judged by your ability to communicate effectively.

• Do not summarily dismiss your responsibility to communicate and defer all communications to law enforcement.  Some law enforcement officials are effective communicators and some are shamefully bad. Furthermore, their comments should only be about the crime, crime scene and the investigation. Your job is to communicate on behalf of your institution. Your job is to be the face and voice of comfort to those you know so well and with whom you share a bond and grief.

• Leaders will quickly second guess every decision and every word during a crisis. That is why all communications decisions and all words that will be spoken should be determined on a clear sunny day. Most Crisis Communications Plans state only vague policy and procedures without definitive timetables or job assignments. Most Crisis Communications Plans fail to have a bountiful addendum of pre-written statements and news releases. By my standards, if I can identify 100 potential crisis scenarios, then on a clear sunny day, I can and will write 100 pre-written and pre-approved news release templates.

• Stay in close touch with members of your Crisis Management Team. Each team member is running their own team, be it emergency response and incident command or communications. Meeting in person is best, but you should never delay meeting because you are not all physically present. Opt to use conference call technology to hold virtual meetings when necessary.

• The perfect Crisis Communications Plan should outline in great detail every decision that must be made in order to effectively communicate. The plan must be written in chronological order so that in one hour or less you can successfully gather all of the facts known at that time, confer with fellow decision makers, then issue your first statement to the media and all other stakeholders. Your plan must be so perfect and thorough that no steps are left out, yet easy enough to execute that in the worse case scenario, it can be effectively executed even by an untrained communicator.

• Many leaders fail to communicate in a timely manner because they are waiting for all of the facts to be known before they say anything. This is a bad strategy. Speaking early helps eliminate rumors and helps to gain the public’s trust. It is better to communicate a little than to say nothing. You need two types of pre-written statements. The first statement gives only the most basic information and is void of many of the hard facts, which are usually not yet known in the first hour of a crisis. In my plans, this is known as the First Critical Statement. Some organizations call these holding statements.

Such a fill-in-the-blank statement should acknowledge to the world and the media that the event has happened and that you are gathering more information which you will share within the second hour of your crisis.

The second hour statement is a more detailed statement that fills in the blanks to many of the facts that were not given in your First Critical Statement. This statement should be written on a clear sunny day, when you are not under emotional distress. This is the type of statement I referenced above. To achieve this you must successfully use three types of sentences in such a pre-written statement, which would include 1) fill in the blank statements, 2) multiple choice statements, and 3) declarative statements that are true today and will still be true on the day of the crisis.

• Communicate quickly, especially in a college or high school situation where an active shooter is present. During the Virginia Tech shooting, the university had a woefully inadequate Crisis Communications Plan, which is sadly still used by an enormous number of universities. Furthermore, when the first two students were killed, school officials were slow to communicate. Two hours after the initial shooting, the gunman shot 30 more people. The university, meanwhile, had still not communicated the events and dangers from the initial event. In addition to the sad deaths of 32 people, extensive fines and court damages have been levied against Virginia Tech for their failure to adequately issue communications that could have saved lives.

• Never get frustrated because you think reporters are asking stupid questions during a news conference. The questions get dumber when you fail to communicate quickly. On a clear sunny day you can actually make a list of all of the questions you think you might get asked by reporters in any given crisis event. Once you have written all of these potential questions, you can effectively write news release templates that will sequentially answer each anticipated question, beginning with who, what, when, where, why and how. You can also successfully write answers that deflect speculative questions, which are the specific questions that so many spokespeople and law enforcement officers consider to be stupid. I can promise you are going to be asked, “why do you think this happened.” You also know that in the early stages of the crisis you will not know the answer. But don’t get frustrated and angry.  On a clear sunny day write a benign answer and have it ready in your news release templates. All of my pre-written statements contain this phrase: “One cannot speculate on why a violent individual would commit such an act. We will have to wait for our investigation to tell us that.”

• When you have your emergency drills, enhance those drills by including mock media and mock news conferences, complete with video cameras. Never use real media for these drills. During your drill you can test your skills, your Crisis Communications Plan and your pre-written statements all on the same day.

• Social media in such a crisis may do more harm than good. As a communications vehicle, social media is a tool and it should never be substituted for talking to the media, talking to employees, posting to the web and communicating to stakeholders via e-mail. All of these tried and true techniques should be used before Facebook and Twitter. YouTube should be your first social media option, followed by links on Facebook and Twitter to your primary website and your YouTube videos. My experience and research shows that Twitter is especially problematic, because well meaning, yet ill informed people, will re-tweet old tweets as though the shooting is still under way, causing undue panic. Once a shooting is over you must tweet an all clear message repeatedly for several hours, complete with links to your primary website where you must post the latest information.

• Do not delay in writing your Crisis Communications Plan. Twice this year I was contacted by organizations that wanted to write their Crisis Communications Plan “within the next 6 months.” Both had shooting fatalities in the workplace before they “ever got around” to writing their plan. One experienced a triple shooting with a double murder and suicide within 12 hours of calling me.

Please realize that the question should not be if you should have a Crisis Communications Plan, but how soon can you have one. Every organization must be prepared to effectively communicate in critical times.

About the author: Gerard Braud is known as the guy to call “When ‘It’ Hits the Fan.” He is an expert in writing Crisis Communications Plan and Media Training, and has practiced his craft on five continents. He has developed a unique workshop that allows multiple organizations to write and complete an entire Crisis Communications Plan in just 2 days, using his proprietary message writing system. You can reach him at gerard@braudcommunications.com  www.braudcommunications.com  www.crisiscommunicationsplans.com
Amid the heartbreak of every tragic shooting we always hear, “No one every thought it would happen here.” The “never happen here” attitude creates huge problems, leaving schools, businesses and communities unprepared – whether it is a tragic shooting at a school, a theater, a mall or your workplace.

It is heart breaking to have to address these concerns during this holiday season, but such is the reality of our world today.

CommPro.Biz has asked global crisis communication expert Gerard Braud to offer a free conference call and conversation to guide us through the steps every school, community and business should be prepared to take when the unthinkable happens.

REGISTRATION IS FREE TO ALL

http://www.commpro.biz/green-room/the-sandy-hook-tragedy-effective-communications-in-critical-times/

Please share via Twitter, Facebook and e-mail with your child’s school leadership, with community leaders and with leaders in your organization.


In this conversation we will discuss:

• Why this tragedy will lead so many institutions to do absolutely nothing

• Tragic flaws in the conventional wisdom about crisis communications

• Social Media’s upside and downside in a crisis

• Tried and true techniques that everyone must be prepared to undertake

• How leaders fail to lead while throwing up roadblocks


 

Super Storm Sandy, Hurricane Isaac and the Latest Social Media & Crisis Communications Strategies for Communicating During a Natural Disaster

The audio recording and handouts for this event are available for those who missed this webinar. The registration link allows you to purchase the recording from December 6, 2012.

Register Now for Only $99

As we exit hurricane season and enter the season of winter storms, it is time to take a fresh look at the reality of crisis communications during a natural disaster. The big challenge in a natural disaster is that sometimes you are the “main event” and other times you are experiencing a serious crisis as part of a much larger crisis. As just one part of a big story, how do you cope with communicating to your core stakeholders and how much do you need to focus on (or ignore) reaching out to the mainstream media.

Our final webinar of the year will focus on:

• How to best use Social Media during a natural disaster crisis

• How to function when electricity is lost

• How to combine technology and Social Media to reach the real media

Cost: $99

Free to those with annual Living License agreement for your Crisis Communications Plan.

You’ll also learn the secrets about how Gerard Braud was able to do live broadcast to CNN & The Weather Channel using only an iPhone, more than 3 days after Hurricane Isaac knocked out electricity to his home.

New Buzzword: Pogo Stick December 1, 2013

Be it known to the world that on this day, I, along with my colleagues in the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), begin a test. Because we are all fed up with silly buzzwords, we have decided to introduce our own meaningless phrase into the corporate buzzword conversation. The new buzzword is “Pogo Stick.”

Used in a sentence: “We need to Pogo Stick this idea. We need to bounce it around all of the departments and see what people think.”

If you are of the twisted mindset to join us, please follow these instructions:

1) Use Pogo Stick at your next meeting.

2) Use Pogo Stick at as many meetings as possible.

3) Include Pogo Stick in e-mail conversations.

4) Report back to us when you hear someone else using this foolish phrase.

Follow our conversation on Linked In.

To see all of the buzzwords used at once, watch The World’s Worst Speech on YouTube.

National Speakers Association (NSA) New Orleans: Home of New Orleans Keynote Speakers

The National Speakers Associations of New Orleans (NSA New Orleans) has been the foundation of my professional speaking career, positioning me as a keynote speaker in New Orleans, as well as a conference presenter and keynote speaker on 5 continents. NSA New Orleans has allowed me to focus on being an expert in media training and crisis communications.

This Saturday, March 3, 2012, I will have the opportunity to give back to my NSA chapter, with a special program that focuses on writing for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The amazing thing about writing for SEO is how much I’ve learned by accident. This blog post will serve as one of the examples.

Virginia Tech Shooting Today: Crisis Communications Case Unfolding – Social Media Impact

Virginia Tech has another school shooting today. Two have died. Please keep these people in your prayers today.

For those who are students of Crisis Communications – both university students and public relations professionals wishing to learn more about proper crisis communications in the age of social media – today is sadly one of those days when you can watch a crisis unfold in the Social Media and online world.

The 2007 Virginia Tech shooting was characterized by slow communications. The first official notice to students in 2007 went out 2 hours and 10 minutes after the first 2 victims were shot, which was also 10 minutes after 30 more people were killed. I’ve long contended that slow communications lead to 30 unnecessary deaths.

Today’s Virginia Tech shooting has had rapid notice by text alert and numerous updates to the Virginia Tech home page

Follow #VT on Twitter to study how this social media venue unfolds.

Like the VT Facebook page to watch the wide variety of comments.

You will see many YouTube videos. I’ve posted this video for you.

Follow some of the online links like this. This is an example of the types of social media some of you may sadly face some day; the types of social media you must prepare for.

Among the crisis communications trends you should follow is whether Facebook becomes a place where students complain because their text messages were slow in arriving and whether they were unable to access information on the Virginia Tech website. During a university or school crisis, it may take 20 to 30 minutes before all students receive their text message. Also, high traffic keeps people from getting updates on the official website.

As you follow Twitter messages about the Virginia Tech shooting, pay close attention to the problems caused by well intentioned people who re-Tweet old and incorrect communications and information. In other school shootings that I have studied since the advent of Twitter, it has been my experience that hours after an all clear has been communicated, people will re-Tweet old messages warning of the shooting as though it is still happening. This is one of the reasons I hate social media when a crisis is unfolding.

To discuss what you may need to prepare of a similar crisis at your school, university or corporation, please contact me via the Braud Communications website or theGerard Braud e-mail.

Social Media Revolutions & How to Write a Social Media Policy

How to Write Your Social Media Policy
March 1st Webinar

Plus the Social Media Revolution – What You Can Learn from Global Events

The time is NOW. Social Media is changing nations. But are you watching from the sidelines or digging in and learning how this affects your communications where you work and with your audience. For all the benefits of Social Media, there is an ugly flip side most people won’t talk about, or fail to recognize, or turn a blind eye to. I’m ready to talk about it.

Join me March 1st for a powerful teleseminar that will cover 2 aspects of the dangers of Social Media. First, learn how to write a Social Media policy that is perfect for your company.  Then we discuss the impact of Social Media during a Crisis, what your leaders don’t understand about Social Media, and what you need to be aware of from this day forward.

Join us for this thought provoking webinar.

Just $79 for your entire team to listen and learn.

Register with this link