Margaret McGann

Crisis Communications: social media needs a starring role

In communications and marketing, crisis communications, crisis communications plan, monitoring, planning, public relations, social media, strategy on July 19, 2010 at 7:55 am

Social media has replaced television, newsprint and radio as the media through which most of us hear about breaking news and major events.  It’s also the quickest way to connect with your staff and multiple audiences.  Rather than a cameo, social media needs to have a starring role in your crisis communications plan.

Social media is huge and growing exponentially daily:

  • Twitter has 100 million users
  • Twitter believes it will reach one billion users by 2012
  • The 10 billionth tweet was posted in March 2010
  • 80 percent of Twitter usage is on mobile devices – “people update anywhere, anytime”
  • Facebook tops Google for weekly traffic in the U.S.
  • Facebook reached 500 million users on July 21, 2010 doubling in size in a year
  • More than 1.5 million pieces of content are shared daily on Facebook
  • There are over 200 million bloggers and 54 percent of them post content or tweet daily
  • YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world

Here’s a two-minute primer on what social media is with stats to show why it’s critical for you to keep up with SM developments in your crisis planning and response.

Your organization’s reputation and perception by key audiences during a crisis will be dictated by the conversation on social media.  The majority of your audiences including news media are on SM meaning you need to constantly monitor and track what’s being said, initiate active engagement and gauge reactions to make sure you are nimble in your response.

Testing your plan is an ideal time to test and prioritize which social media outlets will work best for your crisis response team to inform, update and engage with staff, key audiences and the media.

According to the YouTube sensation Social Media Revolution 2, based on the book Socialnomics by Erik Qualman, “We no longer search for the news, the news finds us via social media.”  You want to make sure you manage it before it manages you.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

  1. Great post. Great stats and very much needed information. Keep up the great work.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for taking the time to comment on it. I checked out your blog and your site and both provide some great tips for crisis communicators. Thanks, Margaret

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