We see promoted tweets for marketing campaigns all the time on Twitter. But what about using a promoted Tweet to communicate your message in a crisis? I saw this done recently and thought “what a great idea!” It was actually United Airlines that recently promoted a Tweet on the top of their Twitter stream to report that their computer malfunction crisis had been resolved. And although their crisis communications by means of social media throughout this particular crisis was poor, alerting their customers, fans and market that the crisis had been resolved was a very wise strategy. It’s important to clearly mark the end of a crisis, and the way United did it was effective.
However, if you have the budget, this promoted tweet thing can be very effective during all stages of your social media crisis communications. Imagine! Every person searching Twitter to find out more about the crisis that your company or organization is currently facing, amongst finding tweets and retweets galore, they will also find your targeted message regarding the crisis, along with a link to a web page that YOU choose – and all of this, right at the top of their search results.
The benefits of paying for a promoted tweet during a crisis
- Get your message across clearly and consistently
- Assure that everyone searching for news regarding the crisis on Twitter will see your targeted message front and centre
- Provide followers and viewers with a targeted link, funnelling them to the updates and statements of your choosing
4 tips to making the most of a promoted tweet in your crisis communications
1- Include a targeted link
No matter how front and centre, 140 characters just simply isn’t enough. Include a targeted link within your promoted tweet directing people to the place where your company is committed to releasing timely updates and statements regarding the crisis. This could be on your Facebook timeline, a dedicated page on your website, blog or wherever else you’ve dedicated as your “home base” during the crisis.
2- Be sympathetic
It’s important to show sympathy towards the victims in a crisis. Make sure to include this show of true sympathy within the promoted tweet as well. Remember, you want to target, address and funnel to the appropriate channel. Being truly sympathetic will help you accomplish this.
3- Use targeted keywords and hashtags
Every crisis, especially those taking place on social media, has a name and a (or several) hashtags. Use those targeted keywords and hashtags within your promoted tweet in order to make sure you get found by the most targeted Twitter searches.
4- Declare the end of the crisis
It’s always important not to leave people hanging. When the crisis has been resolved, don’t forget to let the public know. United did this well with their promoted tweet (I wish I had a screenshot to show you, but I regrettably failed to take one at the time). They let everybody searching or landing on their Twitter feed know that the crisis had been resolved and that they were back up and running efficiently.
So as a form of social media crisis communications, a promoted tweet can be a very good strategy, allowing you to get your message out clearly, consistently and to the most amount of Tweeters as possible.
Have you ever used a promoted tweet as a form of social media crisis communications? If so, tell us about your experience below!
Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, Melissa Agnes is a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection. Agnes is a coveted keynote speaker, commentator, and advisor to some of today’s leading organizations faced with the greatest risks. Learn more about Melissa and her work here.
Wayne Blankenbeckler says
Have any companies released metrics for reach and effectiveness with this tactic? This is a clever idea; do people actually pay attention to promoted tweets? (I know Twitter hopes they.)
Melissa Agnes says
Great questions! As far as reach and effectiveness goes with the promoted tweets in a crisis, I've only seen it done by one company as of yet, and, like I said above, it was to mark the end of the crisis. I do plan to make use of this strategy with my own clients when possible, so you can probably expect a follow-up to this post in the future!
As for people actually paying attention to promoted tweets: What I like about them is that, at a quick glance, they seem like just another tweet at the top of the feed. I read them often and I also like that, unlike Facebook, there's usually only one. Plus, you can promote a tweet at the top of your own feed, so followers or curious individuals coming to your twitter page during a crisis will 1- see them for sure, and 2- you'll know the most pertinent news is not getting buried below other tweets.
Great questions, Wayne! Thanks for stopping by and asking them 🙂