Note from the editor: The following tips were retrieved from Jane Jordan-Meier’s new book, The Four Stages of Highly Effective Crisis Management: How to Manage the Media in the Digital Age.
As I read Jane’s new book, I came across the following tips for using social media during emergencies, borrowed from a White Paper written by Booz Allen Hamilton. These tips are so thorough and complete that I just needed to get permission to post them on my blog, for all of you to benefit from!
Tips for using social media during emergencies
- Make social media efforts message driven, not channel driven.
- Embrace every possible teaching moment so that your social media networks can grow.
- Tap into all available resources. Do you have a large cadre of volunteers?
- Consider training them as social media ambassadors.
- Keep messages brief and pertinent. People are not really reading; they are scanning.
- Make sure you can receive public input. Remember that social media involves not just you talking to the public but also them talking to you and each other.
- Use social media to support a unified message. Instead of creating a new message for social media, use social media to support your existing message in a larger communications model.
- Have a Plan B. Suppose phone lines are jammed and/or computers are down – what will you do?
- Forge partnerships for sharing methods and messages. Federal agencies, for example, need to reach out to the private sector, and vice versa.
- Focus on people when formulating your communication plan. Networks of people will get work done, even when there is no electricity.
- Avoid elitism or the belief that people in charge know more and the general public is prone to misbehavior.
- New technologies are not simply new types of media with which to so the same old things. These new media signal a shift in thinking about how we communicate with our audiences.
- Avoid the “shiny new object syndrome” (being quick to adopt every new social media outlet that emerges… as soon as it emerges).
Source: Booz Allen Hamilton, “Goodbye Sources, Messages, Channels and Receivers: Hello Network”, White Paper from American Public Health Association Expert Round Table on Social Media and Risk Communication during Time of Crisis, March 2009
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.