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Friday, March 11, 2011

How To Use Social Media in a Disaster


If a fire, an ice storm, or even a terrorist attack struck your organization, would you immediately go online and Tweet about it? No? Well, maybe you should. So says a report from Janco. Yet most companies haven't considered how to deploy social-media tools as part of their disaster recovery and business continuity planning. While many of them have incorporated Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs and YouTube as part of their branding, marketing and customer outreach efforts, they haven't learned how to exploit the same tools to communicate during an emergency. “Social networks are powerful,” says M. Victor Janulaitis, CEO of Janco. “They allow anyone to share – and hear – information transmitted from others in real time from anywhere. We've found that both true and false information is spread via social networks, in fact.” To get the right information into the right hands, organizations must come up with proactive social-media disaster-response plans. For more about the report, click here.

1. Social Media Shortfall
Only 25% of organizations integrate social media into their disaster recovery and business continuity plans.

2. Update Central
Employees, stakeholders and media will want to know an organization's status in real time during disaster.

3. A Common Voice
Social media unify communications; Facebook and Twitter emerge as key resources and influencers for those tracking company progress.

4. Everyone’s Watching
Competitors are tracking you; create a detailed plan to reveal enough information without harming competitive interests.

5. Worst Cases
The plan must include provisions for loss of facilities, and even key personnel due to injury or death.

6. Check Emotions at the Door
Your public face must be sensitive to human concerns, without venting or seeking pity; project authority and command of the situation.

7. Internal Usage
Users inside the organization will regain a sense of normalcy as they learn how to get on with their jobs.

8. Parsing Personal Media
Support for the company on private accounts is positive; criticizing individuals or releasing private information isn't.

9. Blog the Aftermath
An employee or manager blog provides a first-hand account of how your team rose to the occasion.

10. Show Appreciation
Use social media to extend thanks to co-workers and vendors who helped you through a disaster.

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