Using social media for crisis communications.

On May 23 I'll be giving a training course in London about using social media for crisis communications. Crisis-communications.jpg

The training session is part of a full education agenda for communicators organized by Melcrum in the UK. If you happen to be around or are based in London check out what's on the menu.

To give you an idea of what I'll cover during this one day training session I thought I would pen down some bullet points on how I think social media can play a role in the context of crisis communications:

  • A blog: perfect is you want to get an online information center up and running in a few minutes, plus it has the advantage that you - the communicator - can manage it and are in control.
  • RSS: really simple syndication can communicate your emergency updates over the web real fast and in different formats allowing reporters, employees and others to subscribe to them by email, SMS, web-feed etc...
  • A wiki: there are great examples around on how a wiki platform was quickly set up after a crisis to allow collaboration among different groups. One such example is the 2004 Tsunami Wiki.
  • A social network like Facebook: a well managed network can help in relief, support and community efforts after a disaster. Just have a look at the numerous groups created to support the families of the victims after the collapse of the 35W bridge in Minnesota.

Of course good planning and offline communications tactics are crucial as well and let's face it, a major disaster could cut internet connections... Still, I do think that easy to use tools like blogs and wikis complete the communications arsenal of the PR manager before, during and after a crisis.

What do you think ?