By Gerard Braud
In considering social media and crisis communication, let’s all agree that social media may cause your actual crisis. Other times, your crisis may be of your own making and social media then amplifies the crisis because of the chatter created in cyber space.
Social media at its worst, clusters mean, anonymous people saying unkind things about your issues and your employer. You have no control over their public conversation. In better situations, fans might say nice things.
In the best situation, social media is about relationships. It is a space and a collection of tools that cluster people with whom you wish to listen to and talk with. It clusters people who want to hear what you say.
I’m not a fan of many aspects about social media because effective crisis communication involves controlling the message and the messenger. However, if I want to at least influence the conversation, the message and the messengers, it is more easily done through friends and supporters than through those anonymous mean people. As with much of what I advocate, those friendly relationships must evolve on a clear sunny day, if you wish to have that support on your darkest day.
Consider that social media is the ultimate personification of 6 degrees of separation. The people you have relationships with have other relationships you don’t know about. That means they are repeating things to friends of friends of friends, creating a circle of conversations and influence. This frightens me because there is less control over the message and the messenger. Yet, it creates hope for me because if a good relationship is built on a clear sunny day, it produces people who like your organization. As a result, they will be more likely to support you in tough times. Essentially, people you have a relationship with have the ability to become your brand ambassadors.
Let’s stop our conversation here today and add something to your to-do list. How might you use social media to create meaningful and sincere relationships with members of your core audiences?
Tomorrow we’ll look at some case studies and struggles in the world of social media and crisis communications.