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Online Listening – Your Brand’s First Defense in a Crisis

July 16, 2010 | By | No Comments

Online listening – your brand’s first defense in a crisis

If you’re already on board with the social media bandwagon, chances are that you know what these channels can do for crisis communications. Tweets, blogs, and forums let you disseminate information quickly to targeted audiences without the filter of traditional media outlets. But while you may be using social media to broadcast crisis-related messages, you may be missing another critical part of any crisis strategy: social media monitoring. Here’s what online listening will do for your plan:

  1. Get a baseline – Social media monitoring allows companies to establish a baseline for online sentiment, according to Social Media B2B’s Jeffery L. Cohen. You can get a sense for how much conversation is occurring as well as whether it leans to the positive or the negative, all before a crisis occurs.
  2. Establish an early warning system – Nothing’s worse than first hearing about a crisis from a reporter who’s contacting you for comment. Since social media moves much more quickly than traditional media channels, online listening can provide clues to an impending problem by detecting upticks in negative sentiment—sometimes long before it becomes fodder for reporters. This gives you the opportunity to engage your crisis plan early, potentially mitigating brand damage.
  3. Understand how the message is received – Message content is critical during a crisis, especially if it’s a safety issue that warrants product recall. Social media monitoring can help you determine if that message is being understood. For example, if you post emergency updates on a blog the readers’ comments will help you determine if the message is clear or if it needs to be refined.

Using social media to get in touch with stakeholders during an emergency is a must-have part of any crisis communications plan. Adding social media monitoring to that plan, however, gives your brand the extra fire power it needs to mitigate damage. Find out how online listening will help you manage those unexpected and disruptive events. Contact the expert team at Social Strategy1 for a risk-free assessment.

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