Published on May 31, 2014
Social Media and Website Messaging in a Crisis Oregon Secretary of State Jacqueline Sowell 4/3/2014
Event: SoS IT staff take applications off-line for emergency maintenance. • Only the agency website is up and running. • Online Central Business Registry, UCC look up, business name search, voter registration and campaign finance database, to name a few, are unavailable until situation is resolved. Challenge: How do you keep customers informed? • Customers still need to get things done: – Register a business. – Document campaign finances. – Conduct a business name search.
Emergency Response Protocols Formulate communications response plan in advance.
Be Bold: Get the Word Out Fast
Proactively Meet Customer Needs Corporation Division SubsiteElections Division Subsite
Evolve Message As Conditions Change Early February Mid February Late February
Use Social Media • Announcements. • Updates. • Pointers to more information. • Answer questions.
What’s Hot on Social Media? Monitor discussion on social media. • Set up keyword searches. • Report on trending topics to leadership. • Determine customer questions/concerns.
Engage on Twitter and Facebook • Offer options for customer service: phone, fax, email. • Provide self-service options using data.gov. – Business name search. – UCC look up. • Monitor and address trending topics. – Respond to concerns. – Add answers to FAQ.
Be Responsive • People want to be heard, get answers and receive customer service. • Jump into both positive and negative threads. • Remain polite and helpful. • Don’t argue. Stop responding to contentious comments after offering information.
Be Approachable • Acknowledge the inconvenience. • Apologize. • Leave others to defend the agency.
Post Answers to Common Questions • Publish FAQ to website and update it regularly. • Provide FAQ URL on social media, website and blog.
Frame the Narrative
Be Transparent: Blog it
Give Customers a Way to Receive Updates • Identify key end-user groups. • Provide email list subscription options. • Promise to inform them when the application is back online.
Elevate Crucial Information Example: Temporary Rule for Voters’ Pamphlet Submissions • Posted to Elections landing page. • Added to Elections page listing elections rules. • Rule text posted as PDF because rule wasn’t published in Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR).
Monitor Analytics and Publish Reports Keep communications team and leadership apprised.
Questions? Jacqueline Sowell Social Media and Web Strategist Oregon Secretary of State firstname.lastname@example.org | email@example.com | @gotsowell
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