Corporate communications + Public Relations Adelaide


June 2012

Social media’s part in your crisis comms plan

A lot of corporations have crisis communications plans. However many don’t yet incorporate social media platforms into their crisis planning. And that’s dangerous.

First things first.

What’s a crisis communications plan?

It’s a plan that helps remind you of the steps to take during a crisis – which can include threats to life like a fire or food contamination; major workplace accidents; a Chief Executive Officer being accused of a crime; a factory line being out of action; stop work action and so on – anything which could disrupt your business operations and if not dealt with carefully, put you out of business. These plans are often put together by a team including PR professionals and legal advisors. There are also risk management consultants who can put your plan together.

Crisis communications
Crisis communications

Your crisis communications plan will typically outline elements like:

  • Who speaks to the media
  • The priority audiences you need to talk to (employees, customers, government)
  • Who needs to be consulted and drawn into a ‘crisis operations centre’ (managers, board members, legal counsel, PR counsel)
  • The communication channels at your disposal (website, intranet, media conference etc)

Today, crises can be played out online and organisations need to monitor social media for a variety of things:

  • Is anyone asking you questions on your social media platforms? (What would you do if someone posted onto your Facebook page, asking whether their husband was involved in the factory accident? What would you do if someone tweeted you, asking if it’s true there’s been a contamination in your organisation’s canteen? Or if someone tweeted photos of a fire taking place at your venue?)
  • Is anyone speculating about your crisis on social media? Are they painting an inaccurate picture? Can you step in and provide your official response?

This means you need to think about incorporating the following into your crisis communications plan:

  1. Who will monitor social media platforms during crises? Which platforms will they monitor; what tools will they use; when will they report back to the crisis management team? Does this person have enough time to manage social media or do you need more resources (your media officer may be busy with traditional media requests). Are they authorised and able to answer queries independently?
  2. What’s the process for distributing information on social media? Typically, a statement or key messages will be drafted and the same information will be supplied to the traditional media, members of the public and social media followers. However be mindful that queries may come swiftly on social media and people will be anxiously waiting for responses. An interim statement may be needed.
  3. The traditional media (press, radio, TV) may be monitoring your social media communities to report on the conversations taking place there. Your responses – or lack of response – may appear in the media shortly afterwards.

More reading: Coles and other social media crises I’ve met.

My social media wishlist

It’s not Christmas, it’s not even Christmas in July, but I have compiled a wishlist.

It’s a wishlist for changes to some of my favourite social media platforms. I’m not asking for major changes that will shake things up. My wishes are just little tweaks that would make my experience of these platforms more enjoyable. (And of course, I say ‘little tweaks’ as a non-coder who doesn’t have to work to make these things happen. Forgive me).

So here goes. I wish:

  • Hootsuite would send a tweet when I press ‘enter’ (rather than requiring me to click the send button)
  • Path would not require me to press both Save and Done to share an update
  • Instagram would have a ‘like’ for comments
  • LinkedIn would remove the subject line from its messages (90% of the messages sent to me have the subject line ‘hello’)
  • Twitter would allow the ability to ‘unfollow’ a conversation – like Facebook has. Think of how great it would be to opt out of copious #FF retweeting and thanks, or conversations that have taken a different tangent since you first took part. You’re hostage to the other tweeters!

I recently saw another wish, on a Facebook page I’m a fan of. This was for Facebook to enable us to edit status updates – giving us, say, a two minute window to correct errors. Now, wouldn’t THAT be great?

What are some of the little things you wish your favourite social media platforms would change?

YouTube classics you must watch at least once in your life

Hi everyone.

I’ve been having fun compiling a YouTube playlist of my favourite clips.

I’ll use these in client presentations sometimes – but let’s face it, also on those days when I need a giggle. My playlist includes classics like the one below, by band Ok Go.

It also includes adorable animal clips like Sneezing Baby Panda:

And some commercial classics like Evian Babies and Old Spice:

Of course, I had to add Rebecca Black’s Friday (like it or not) and was also interested to see that the Adelaide newsreader Belinda Heggen has one of the most liked videos on YouTube (An Awkward Moment).

Check out my YouTube classics playlist so far and let me know what you’d add. Also, don’t overlook Playlists as a great way to curate and reshare YouTube content. It’s easy and it’s fun.

7 great ways for journalists to use social media

I recently spoke to a media outlet about some opportunities social media brings. It inspired me to write the quick list of social media ideas for journalists below:

  1. Join Facebook Pages that are relevant to your beat: emergency services, politics, not for profit, local government, the arts and so on. Get a feel for trends and topics in that sector and what the sector cares about. Identify potential spokespeople or talent for stories. (But please be respectful of that community. Don’t “steal” ideas or quotes or reveal private discussions. Ask for permission and seek participation, in order to remain a genuine member of that community. It’ll serve you better in the long run).
  2. Develop Twitter Lists of accounts that are good sources of information. You might have a Twitter List for local business people, Mayors, sports people and so on. These Lists can be made private if you don’t want to share. As you follow hundreds or thousands of Twitter accounts, Lists can help you save time and cut through your tweetstream.
  3. Use Twitter to find good talent: thought-provoking people who tweet share their views and passions. They’re microblogging (and often, also blogging) and have a lot to say about topics that may form the basis of your next news piece. You can get a feel for their knowledge and capacity by having a Twitter conversation with them first.
  4. Watch trending topics on Twitter. Use Trendsmap and Twirus to help. This illustrates what people are talking about now and also live conversations that may unearth story ideas and sources for you. You can use Trendsmap and Twirus to look at your location only.
  5. Follow regular hashtags where available like #saparli for South Australian politics, #auspol for Australian politics, #Adelaide, #agchatoz and the conference hashtags that cover what’s happening at key major events. You can set up columns for these in social media dashboards like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck; keep handy columns over the long term, quickly create and then delete the more short term topics.
  6. Use social media to lift your own profile and share your work. Share insights into your day, have conversations with others and network, to position yourself as the ‘go to’ journalist when there is a story to share. Be engaging with your social media community and they may reward you by reading your pieces, retweeting and resharing your work.
  7. Be inspired by what other organisations are doing in the media space. See for example The Guardian and how it crowdsources  assistance with working through large data and its data centre
7 great ways for journalists to use social media
7 great ways for journalists to use social media

The Tweet TV Generation

When I watch TV, I have the remote control perched on one arm of my chair and my smartphone on the other.

That’s because I love tweeting while watching television. (And clearly, I enjoy being in control).

Tweeting while watching TV means I get to discuss the show with others, make new friendships and fill in the time during boring TV commercials.

I generally don’t enjoy commercial TV because of the intrusive and repetitive ad breaks, but Twitter has encouraged me to get past that. Twitter gives me something to do during the breaks, and I enjoy the banter with tweeps who are watching the same show.  Occasionally I’ve discovered a show because I’ve seen so many others tweeting about it and I trust their recommendations.

This means Twitter presents opportunities for TV stations to 1) gain more viewers 2) listen to viewers 3) tell advertisers that TV is still a valid medium. We know they’ve cottoned onto this – particularly in the reality TV genre – because TV producers are showing tweets on-screen, they’re asking the Twitterverse for their opinion, encouraging discussion and putting resources into their social media channels.

I recently asked the Twitterverse if they like tweeting and watching TV at the same time, and why. Here’s a snapshot of some of the responses from those who do:

TV tweeters - comments
TV tweeters – comments
Tweeting while watching TV - comments
Tweeting while watching TV – comments
Tweeting while watching TV - comments
Tweeting while watching TV – comments
Tweeting while watching TV - comments
Tweeting while watching TV – comments

I received a few comments about Australia’s timezones and the frustrations this causes when the nation usually can’t watch online together:

Tweeting while watching TV - comments
Tweeting while watching TV – comments
Tweeting while watching TV - comments
Tweeting while watching TV – comments

What about you? Do you have The Second Screen in your hand while watching television?

Related posts:
Twitter encourages live TV viewing 

Who has the biggest voice on social media?

Facebook offers scheduled posts

For a long time, Facebook Page managers have wished for certain Facebook features that weren’t there.

Today, one of them has been released.

And that’s the ability to schedule a Facebook status update, so that it appears into the future.

Scheduling status updates is something that social media dashboards like Hootsuite have been able to give us for a long time. They’re very handy, but there are some dangers attached. For example, you can mischedule a status update quite easily and look silly. I must admit I’ve done that before, when a scheduled post has reminded people that an event is “ON TONIGHT!” when it’s in fact the following night. So you need to proofread the dates and times of your scheduled posts very carefully.

Also, there’s the danger that your scheduled post may become irrelevant or inappropriate in between the time you drafted it, and the time it’s sent. There’s an increased risk behind this if you schedule your post weeks or months into the future (and Facebook’s scheduled posts allow you to scheduled six months ahead).

I’ve given the new Facebook feature a try this morning and found the process a little clunky, as it slowly takes you through choices as you choose each one (month, day, hour, minute). See the graphic below (Facebook offered the year first, then the month, the day and so on):

Facebook scheduling posts window
Facebook scheduling posts window

This is in contrast to Hootsuite, for example, which lets you see all your schedule choices quickly in one window:

Hootsuite's scheduling window
Hootsuite’s scheduling window

I was relieved to see you can access and check your scheduled Facebook posts under your Page’s Activity Log. Again, I know from experience that you’ll want to recheck scheduled posts and perhaps change or cancel them:

Facebook scheduling: activity log
Facebook scheduling: activity log

Mashable has published an overview of the new feature which leads to another piece about its flaws  and here’s your Facebook Help Centre page to learn more.

Do you think you’ll be using scheduled Facebook posts?

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