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How to Use Twitter to Communicate a Crisis

If you are marketing on Twitter you may find yourself having to manage a crisis. During an emergency, whether it’s a public health scare or a product recall, or your CEO just absconded with millions of dollars, this is a time when controlling the message is important, and timing is crucial.

You can’t just send out a press release, do a few interviews with the mainstream media, and assume that you’ve done your job. People are talking with each other about what’s going on, and these opinions are making it into the general conversation.

Although you can’t (and shouldn’t) try to stifle the conversation, you can be a big part of it, and you can try to steer it in a positive (or at least less negative) direction.

Here are a few steps you can take during a crisis to monitor and communicate with Twitter:

  1. Set up a laptop running TweetDeck or Twitterfall.com with an LCD projector to show the message windows on the wall for employees responding to the crisis to see. If it’s just you, skip the projector.

  2. Make sure that all staff members responding to the crisis have their own Twitter accounts and followers.

    You should have set this up way beforehand. Be sure to follow people in your particular industry or community. If you have staff using private Twitter accounts to communicate internally, make sure that you have at least one account that’s public.

  3. Establish #hashtags about the incident.

    Make sure that all employees tweeting about the crisis use them. Let the media and concerned parties know about them.

  4. When you find a piece of information that’s wrong, correct it and refer people to the source for correct information.

  5. Post media updates to your blog, and send out tweets when they’re up.

  6. Answer questions on Twitter, and refer people to your blog for additional information.

It's important to track and watch content being shared on Twitter in order to keep up-to-date with monitoring of different crises.

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