It’s time to face the music. To be an expert in crisis communication, you have to move your organization at the speed of Twitter when “it” hits the fan.
Someone with the handle @shroomy0021 was riding down the highway in California when he noticed flames from a natural gas explosion. Within minutes, he posted video to the web. In short order, it was followed a barrage of requests from media asking to use the footage. Do you really want someone known as @shroomy0021 managing your corporate communication? Until the company fills the void with accurate information, @shroomy0021 is currently the spokesperson for the event.
Meanwhile, near my home, a massive chemical plant explosion killed two and injured 114. As employees ran for safety, one stopped to take a photo of the fireball, then sat in his Ford F150 and created a Facebook page. The page had more than 4,000 likes within three hours and 38 minutes. I know because it was that long before the company issued its first public statement via their website.
Social media are your competition. Who is winning that competition? Are you even in the game?
Take a quick test. How long does it take your organization to send out your first official public statement or news release when a crisis happens?
If you still live in the dark ages in which you write a news release from scratch, then send it up the chain of command for approvals and changes, then take it back for re-writes, then send it for a final approval, then you disseminate the information to the world, you have a lot of work to do. That traditional process usually takes several hours. By then, eyewitnesses on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other sites have been telling their version of your story....
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