There’s an aspect of public relations that can be extremely stressful for any pr professional but a priority for any company or organization. Normally, a crisis communication plan would involve holding press conferences, sending media updates, dealing with internal communication etc. But, public relations professionals now have to consider social media with that plan. Why? Because news can spread like wildfire on the internet and it is impossible to control that message. However, you can have your message heard and make sure the truth is out there. Here are some things to consider when preparing your crisis communication strategy:
1. The minute the crisis occurs, start monitoring social networking sites. Read over conversations about the company. Find out what information or speculation is already being generated.
2. Try to have a statement or updated information related to the crisis on company’s website as quickly as possible. Depending on the duration of the crisis, try to craft a specific landing page that has updated information.
3. Via social networking sites, direct people to website for the latest information and tell them website will be updated once new information is received.
4. Don’t try to argue via online or rebuff negative comments. However, be open about the situation as much as you can be. By not responding at all, that will leave people to speculate more and form their own opinions of the situation.
5. Also, make sure all information related to crisis is comprehensive and all under one platform. It’s confusing to have multiple sites or blogs with different information. Have one website or webpage with information as well as resource links if needed.
6. Talk with your team and figure out how to address internal communication surrounding the crisis. That includes employees using Twitter, Facebook etc to share information about the situation.
7. Do not lie about the situation. If a lie is uncovered, you will have a much larger crisis on your hands.
8. This is just food for thought. Don’t stress out about trying to control the message. Instead, focus on getting the right message out there and making sure the public has the correct information.