Social media, whether we like it or not, is a tool that plays a vital role in communications. It allows news to spread faster than ever before, which in the event of a crisis is not always a positive thing.
At Adoni Media, we use social media daily to enhance the reach of our clients and spread positive news about their actions. In a crisis however, the nature of social media can make or break an organisation depending on the level of reputational damage.
Here is our list of the pros and cons of the role social media plays in crisis management.
Social media provides organisations with the opportunity to build trust among public, even before a crisis happens. It is important for organisations to regularly engage with stakeholders, the public and other businesses in order to build rapport so that when a crisis happens, trust is already established and will be easier to gain back.
This can be done by constantly delivering information to those who support the organisation so that they stay informed and have a reason to trust and support the business.
Social media is a fast-moving platform where new information can disseminate within seconds. In the instance of a crisis, organisations can use social media as a form of immediate communication to their public to share important information on the crisis that has occurred and how the organisation is responding.
During a crisis, an organisation should update the public early and often. This shows important stakeholders and public that the situation is not being ignored and steps are underway to rectify the problem.
Unfortunately, social media is a breeding ground for inaccurate information. Having inaccurate information spread about an organisation, especially in the event of a crisis, can cause further damage to an organisation’s reputation.
Therefore, it is important for organisations to respond to the crisis quickly in order to prevent the spread of false information. On social media, this can happen in the form of a carefully written tweet or Facebook post to inform the public and set the record straight.
Social media allows users to voice their opinion on almost everything. In the event of a crisis, just one comment has the power to sway the opinion of other users. If people feel a situation has been handled in the wrong way, they will often express it on social media.
This is when things can start to spiral and unwanted information about the organisation starts to spread. In order to prevent this, your crisis communication plan should include control practices that aim to stop the spread of negative comments – this may involve directly replying to comments or offering to take it offline and contact the person through a phone call.