How to accelerate your online response when a crisis hits

With social media—especially live-stream video platforms—heightening the potential damage to an organization or brand, communicators must respond like lightning. Here’s how to do so.

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To be an expert in crisis communications you have to move your organization at the speed of Twitter when “it” hits the fan.

As @shroomy0021 was riding down the highway, he noticed flames from a natural gas explosion in California. Within minutes he posted a video to the web.

In short order, a barrage came from journalists asking to use the video. Do you really want someone known as @shroomy0021 managing your corporate communications? Until the company fills the void with accurate information, @shroomy0021 is the spokesperson for the event.

Meanwhile, near my home, a massive chemical plant explosion killed two people and injured 114. As employees ran for safety, one stopped to take a photo of the fireball, then sat in his Ford F150 and created a Facebook page. The page had more than 4,000 “likes” within about three-and-a-half hours—it was that long before the company issued its first public statement via their website.

Social media is your competition. Who is winning that competition? Are you even in the game?

How long does it take your organization to send out your first official public statement or news release when a crisis happens? One hour, two hours, three hours—or even longer?

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