Social media in crisis communication

October 16, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

Just as social media can help spread damaging information in the blink of an eye, so can social media be used to stop, or at least alleviate, the calamitous consequences.

It’s all in knowing how to go about it.

At the Summit for New Risk Champions, Arley Turner of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center offered 10 tips for social media use on crisis communications, based on information from the U.S. Department of State.

  • Cease normal operations. Delete pre-scheduled or automated content.
  • Acknowledge the situation immediately. Acknowledge “rogue tweets” as soon as possible.
  • Get the message to as many platforms as possible. When possible, link to detailed, official information to a .gov site.
  • Be prepared to address vulnerabilities. Know how to report hacking, bugs and other glitches that could negatively affect content.
  • Find the right balance. Find a realistic messaging schedule that conveys necessary information but doesn’t divert staff from more critical tasks.
  • Don’t participate in a conversation when the brand doesn’t belong. Stay in your land.
  • Don’t feed the trolls. Show restraint. Be professional. Use humor sparingly.
  • Correct, don’t delete. This is generally viewed as suspect.
  • Listen to the audience. Their messages contain helpful information.
  • If it is necessary to disengage, say so. Don’t delete or temporarily remove accounts.