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In this day and age, crisis management and crisis communications must include a plan for social media. Perhaps your company already has a plan for how to manage a crisis, but it’s probably time to revisit that plan and make sure you have a well-thought-out social media strategy.

Social media is NOT a strategy in and of itself. Instead, it’s a tool you will use during a crisis to communicate important and confirmed information to your audiences. Below are some basic rules to follow on social media during a crisis.

DO: Respond Quickly and Properly

When a crisis hits your company, you want to tell the truth, tell the whole truth, and tell it quickly. This is easy to say, but very hard to actually do. Still, you will want to share on social media all public communications you make about the crisis at hand. Explain, as best you can, what happened and why. Also, let your audience know when you will have another update. Keep in mind, the conversation will take place on social media with or without you. You need to be part of the conversation even during a crisis.

DON’T: Be Defensive or Mean-Spirited

Being active on social media in a crisis is necessary, but you need to make sure you strike the proper tone. You will likely hear from people who are angry and upset with you and your company. Listen and respond in a thoughtful, caring way. Don’t be defensive. If necessary, take the conversation offline—encourage a direct message or a phone call. In a crisis, you don’t want to make excuses, blame someone else, or come across as angry on social media.

DO: Communicate With Your Employees

Your employees will be online during a crisis as well checking their personal social media feeds. Communicate with your employees about the company’s plans. Share public statements with them as well, so they can post those on their social channels. If an employee receives a social media message that’s critical, encourage them to forward it to someone in management so you can address the concerns in that message directly. During a crisis, employees want to help. Give them the tools to do that.

DON’T: Think You’re Alone

It may feel as if you’re in the crosshairs during a crisis, but you are not alone. Bad things happen to good companies—and there are resources available to help you get through this.

If you need expert advice for managing a crisis, please contact the professionals at Tucker/Hall today.

SEE ALSO: Social Media During an Aircraft Incident Crisis Response