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COM 460 Social Media & Crisis Communication

November 14, 2013

What do I know about social media and communications? I know that behind all social media platforms there are humans who occasionally make mistakes. We discussed in lecture how these human error occurrences require special attention to protect the reputation of the organization who made the error. This is the basis of social media crisis management. 

While exploring Social Media Crisis Management in a Google image search, one finds that much of the business is made up of answering critical questions about the crisis at hand. Many of these yes/no answers are presented in Infographic Flow Charts that give insight in tackling a wide range of problems. This particular chart deals with negative comments posted on social media sites that can affect the reputation of the company. By asking and answering questions like “Unhappy customer? Dedicated complainer? Comedian want-to-be?” gives insight into the appropriate reaction. 

 Responding to a crisis in the right way can make or break a company with just one large event, or years of neglectful monitoring. Tim Hughes blog dedicates several posts to what he has learned over his 30 years experience in the field of fixing company reputations. He explains how bringing companies back from the bring involves “companies who make their own luck, support must be earned, leaders need a positive vision and true grit”. 

Companies must have a plan of action that can be applied when a crisis occurs that is integrated into their existing risk management process. The plan should nominate a crisis team of management leaders (CEO, financial, tech, legal, etc.) to establish such procedures. If the event is serious enough, outside crisis management professionals may need to be incorporated into the plan. 

Tim Hughes goes on to explain that the much of the crisis readiness plan can be reserved with proactive measures. By “working pro-actively at every level of an organization to deliver consistently high levels of quality in terms of product and customer experience” goes a long way to protecting a company from potential crisis. Strong consumer followings and quick response to customer needs curbs dangerous public relation events that can harm a business. 

COM 460 lecture slides address how social media crisis management requires having the right plan in the hands of the right people who are capable of taking preventative action. After formulating the right plan, the organization must make an effort to keep up good customer relations. This involves listening to customer feedback (both good and bad) on social media sites that now gives everybody a voice. 

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