4 Ways Your Company Can Deal With Disaster In A Social, Mobile World
The recent plant explosion in West, Texas and the explosions aboard two fuel barges on the Mobile River in Alabama foreground the question of how well companies are conveying information to nearby neighborhoods and businesses.
Relying on local authorities and news media can’t be the only options anymore—not in a world where information is so easily communicated across multiple channels in rapid fashion. And especially not when danger could be eminent, such as additional explosions or air quality issues.
According to the Pew Research Center’s State of the News Media 2012 Report, between 30 and 50 percent of nearly every demographic uses mobile phones and tablets to read news including on Facebook and Twitter.
Responsible, cutting edge companies will be the ones that not only convey information in a timely statement to the media but also utilize their homepage as well as company social media accounts.
Crisis communication expert George Smalley of Bridge Builder Communications says, “A company’s reliance on local authorities to serve as spokespeople during an industrial accident only works up to a point. In cases of off-site impacts, neighbors and other stakeholders expect to get information directly from the company, and not just via the news media. If a company doesn’t communicate using social media during a crisis, it risks damaging its credibility and reputation.”
So what are some of the must-dos a company should add to their crisis communication plan?
•Keep a “dark” crisis page for your website. This is a page that is not live anywhere on your website but can be immediately turned on in the event of a crisis. It should include an information phone number for the company, local emergency numbers, and links to the company’s social media accounts for updates.
•Start Twitter and Facebook updates immediately. Include links to the previously “dark” web page you have turned on as well as any other pertinent information. The faster you can do this, the faster your neighbors will help you spread the word.
•Text as many employees as possible at once. Do this with updated information including the links above. They in turn will help spread important information to their friends and family.
•Get your official company statement out as soon as you can. Do it right away, even if the company only has a few details on the crisis. If anything, the company can assure nearby businesses and neighborhoods that safety precautions are underway, an investigation will start as soon as possible, and can include the above links and phone numbers. Link this statement to the above website and social media accounts.
[Image: Flickr user Luis Argerich]
How else can your company prepare for a disaster in this social/mobile age?