Published on March 17, 2014
ETHICS AND CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS #Manship4002 Lecture 14
WHAT IS A CRISIS? • Crisis = significant, disruptive event that often features a rapid onset, and can produce negative consequences for an organization‘s financial health and reputation.
EXAMPLES OF CRISES Natural disasters (public sector organizations should demonstrate responsibility for safety of citizens) workplace accidents, violence technical errors rumors
SOCIAL MEDIA FOR CRISIS MANAGEMENT • Organizations use social media to proactively monitor and prepare for potential crisis • Requires active listening, social media monitoring • Organizations can use social media to provide up- to-date information during a crisis event •24 hour updates • Social media messages enable reputation managers to reach key demographics quickly and efficiently during a crisis event • Social media, used correctly, can establish positive credibility and reputation for a brand
REPUTATION ―the collective representation of multiple constituencies‘ images of a company, built up over time and based on a company‘s identity programs, its performance, and how constituencies have perceived its behavior‖ consumer sales (private sector) perceived product quality credibility (public sector) Companies that have an established and positive reputation are more likely to recover quickly after a major crisis (Ulmer, 2001).
REPUTATION A corporate reputation is based on four foundations 1. Reliability 2. Responsibility 3. Credibility 4. Trustworthiness (Fombrun, 1996).
FORBES: ―In life, and in business, reputation is everything. That said, reputation is very fragile and it only takes one mistake to cause irreparable damage to your company‘s image. This is especially true in the digital world where radical transparency and high customer expectations reign supreme. Ignoring strong public digital voices isn‘t an option any more.‖
1. Listen and Be Present: Not having a presence on social communities can reflect badly on your brand. Listen and respond – even if just with a link to a website or form for customer feedback. 2. Set The Right Expectations: Make a plan for how quickly people should expect your response – 5 hrs? 24hrs? 48hrs? 3. Be Transparent: DON‘T erase negative posts, ever. DON‘T try to cover up social media mistakes. Customers don‘t expect you and your teams to be perfect, just transparent and honest. They expect you treat them like family… 4. Respond Thoughtfully: show you care; ―of those customers who received a reply in response to their negative review 33% turned around and posted a positive review, and 34% deleted their original negative review.‖
5. Never Lose your Cool: never be rude or attack customers in social forms – unacceptable, and will come back to bite your A*$! 6. Have a crisis management team (from PR, HR, legal, marketing…) 7. Manage access to your social media accounts carefully 8. Post moderation guidelines: “you can also post your own moderation guidelines on your social media pages to make it obvious what behavior will or will not be tolerated within your social communities. Being up-front about your ―house rules‖ makes it simpler to take down offensive posts by referring to your rules and pointing out how they were violated.‖ 9. Hire experienced community managers
WHAT IS A BRAND‘S RESPONSIBILITY ON TWITTER? “To respond.” - Conversocial CEO Joshua March [a platform that enables brands to manage interactions and increase engagement with customers in social media] Many brands, however, don‘t respond to customer service complaints on Twitter. Many of these customer complains are direct queries (48%), not simply negative comments (9%), so they deserve responses.
GAP LEAVES TWITTER COMPLAINTS UNANSWERED…
CONVERSOCIAL CEO JOSHUA MARCH ―There‘s a more established model coming up, which is the ‗social media customer service team‘. Big brands need to have 50-60 customer service staff trained to use social media, as well as systems to monitor actions and keep up with the volume.‖
―While having followers and getting hundreds of retweets is great, brands should start paying attention to the quality of their engagement. Companies like Conversocial are helping to provide the tools to do this– other similar companies include Sprout Social and TwentyFeet. The bottom line is it‘s not about quantity anymore — we‘ve confirmed that there are a lot of people on the Internet and they‘re making a lot of noise. It‘s now more than ever about the quality of
• Social media have transformed how crisis communicators reach their audiences • Social media platforms and messages add to challenges involved in maintaining the reputation of brands and corporations • Social media can help people feel they have more control over a crisis, and feel more connected to the community during the crisis
INDIVIDUAL EMPOWERMENT DURING CRISIS Using social media, individuals can contribute directly to media by providing eyewitness perspectives through video, photos, or texted accounts of an event, often bypassing the professional reporters on the scene, and providing unﬁltered views of what is happening in the world. 9/11 Hurricane Katrina 2007 Virginia Tech shootings
PEOPLE USE SOCIAL MEDIA DURING CRISES Community members who experienced the 2007 southern California wildﬁres sought information and used social media to contact friends and family. Many people saw Tweets about TVA ash spill crisis before they received traditional media updates. Risks for organizations that provide inaccurate information to stakeholders in a time of crisis
HURRICANE IRENE LESSONS Misinformation spread on Twitter about where to find food and shelter before the storm caused fear and confusion Crisis communicators should monitor their social media accounts to ensure that erroneous information is not provided via their accounts or by individuals commenting on their organization‘s social media posts. Use crowdsourcing, or the power to ask individuals to help contribute and create information
RESEARCH: Social mention (www.socialmention.com) was used to collect updates appearing on social media platforms from August 22, 2011 to September 1, 2011 using the search terms ―hurricane irene,‖ ―hurricane irene safety,‖ ―hurricane irene mold,‖ and ―hurricane irene food safety.‖ The social media updates collected about Hurricane Irene came from multiple sources such as Twitter, Facebook, Digg, YouTube, Yahoo! News, Google News, Reddit, and Flickr. The most frequently used social media platform was Digg (N = 295) followed by Twitter (N = 231) and then
FINDINGS ―Hashtags are useful to incorporate strategically into a crisis communications plan‖ To monitor what others are saying To ensure those impacted in the crisis are able to follow what others are reporting The improper use or improper dissemination of hashtags may have impacted the wider dissemination of what could have been very high scoring messages. Top social media updates on Social Mention had links to more information
Communicate Quickly Be Credible Be Accurate Be Simple Be Complete Communicate Broadly
WHAT CONSTITUTES A ―GOOD‖ CRISIS MESSAGE? Previous research has shown that crisis and emergency messages are most effective when they feature a personal touch (i.e., personalized messages) feature efﬁcacy (i.e., providing individuals with action steps to take). Emergency messages ought to 1. Explain the event 2. Identify likely consequences and outcomes 3. Explain who is in charge and what they are doing to mitigate harm 4. Explain what people can do to protect themselves
BEST PRACTICES FOR CRISIS COMMUNICATORS Integrate multimedia and links into updates: Individuals want not only textual information appearing in social media updates related to a crisis, but also a visual context of the information or a reference to another credible source. Proper use of hashtags and tagged keywords: Organizations and agencies need to be strategic in monitoring and assigning hashtags for speciﬁc events so that others may monitor, follow, and respond.
BEST PRACTICES FOR CRISIS COMMUNICATORS Balance between ofﬁcial and conversational updates: Most of the updates collected from Social Mention focused on addressing breaking news about Hurricane Irene, but were framed to be more conversational than ofﬁcial in tone compared to traditional media. The more conversational updates were more successful than those in an ofﬁcial tone of voice.
MORE RESOURCES ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS Idisaster 2.0: http://idisaster.wordpress.com/ Hootsuite: Social Media and Crisis Communications, FDR Style: http://blog.hootsuite.com/lessons-crisis- communications-fdr/ Sparkcentral Guest Blog: Crisis Management with Social Media: http://usefulsocialmedia.com/reputation/sparkcentral- guest-blog-crisis-management-social-media 4 Golden Rules for Tweeting During a Crisis: http://socialmediatoday.com/howveryheather/1412701/4- golden-rules-tweeting-during-crisis Managing A Brand‘s Social Presence During Crisis: http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130418211506- 8628736-managing-a-brand-s-social-presence-during-crisis
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