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.


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.

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