But now, I'd like to take a look at some of the issues that come up more and more frequently in dealing with the communications aspects of any crisis or emergency. Again, these are all linked together by the changes brought about by social convergence.
The first is the ability to put in place a solid social media listening operation. This is not as difficult as it may seem. A lot of attention has been directed at sophisticated operations and set ups. The American Red Cross, Dell, the recent Consumer Electronics Show, and others, have superb operations in nice, well-equipped centres.
You can do it as well ... on a smaller scale ... one that fits your needs. The first thing is to take the time to do it in routine situations ... a part of your normal day at work.
Doing it daily, combing through a RSS feed, monitoring Twitter regularly, adds to your business intel acumen and positions you well when you need to ramp up when a reputational threat is detected. Here's how you can go about this.
Melissa Agnes, a respected crisis communications professional, provides many insights on monitoring social media.
Having an ongoing social media monitoring activity will help you stay abreast of developments in your fields and may give you a chance to detect crises BEFORE they happen.
The second issue that will present itself to crisis communicators in 2013 is to ensure that their plans are "socially convergent". This means ensuring that you're relevant in your response to a crisis and reaching the right audiences.
Social convergence is the combination of social networks and mobile technologies. You use it or run the risk of being ignored.
Being "socially convergent" in your crisis communications response gives you the ability to act with speed. Not hurriedly, but a practiced fast execution.
Also, does your plan identify the traditional/legacy media as your primary audience or distribution channel? If so, that's a failure point.
A key failure point that is still quite common is the belief that organizations can still "control the message". That's a relic of a bygone era of the news cycle and cozy relationships with professional journalists who could "sit" on a story if they were given something in return.
How does that work in a world where news breaks on Twitter and Youtube ... where citizens are reporters and the news cycle is NOW ... 24/7 ?
The third issue that could haunt some PR and crisis comms pro this year is "brandjacking" or people pretending to be YOU and engaging with your constituency. This can happen in a variety of ways:
- someone posing as you and responding/engaging on your organization's Facebook page for example.
- hackers gaining access to your social network accounts
- people tweeting when they shouldn't or who are not authorized to do so
- parodies on Youtube or parody social network accounts that threaten your reputation
|Screen shot from NRA online add using Obama's children|