Strategic media and social media plans. Do you have them? I’ve asked this before -> Why are you using media/public relations/social media? Media, and in particular social media needs a well-articulated idea of why, what, when and how.
Best practices, knowing when and how to engage, and using the best and most effective tools to produce maximum results and efficiency is what is needed. It’s a science based on humans. And it takes time to see results.
But, what do you do when something goes wrong and you have no time to plan?
Having policies or guidelines in place will help you to deal with most situations and you won’t waste precious time trying to decide how to communicate, just what. An effective plan puts you in control of what may be a very volatile and confusing situation.
Consider these 7 points to avert your media or social media crisis.
- Protect. Always protect people first and property or company second. Why? Well, someone might actually be harmed, whether it be physically or emotionally. Deep breath and do the right thing. Be rational and calm. Be in control. Don’t be overwhelmed by the crisis (that will come later, after).
- Gather facts. Before you do too much you do need to know who, what, where, when, why, and how, so you can decide what next.
- Act quickly. If you have started protection (#1), then all that remains is to be factual. Spare no expense to distribute the information you determine the media and others should have as quickly as possible. Positive, assertive communication focuses attention on the most important aspects of the problem and moves the entire process forward to resolution, even in a negative or aggressive media environment.
- Be generous. Give the media as much factual information as possible. This is to reduce the reliance on information (perhaps inaccurately) sourced from other people or places.
- Don’t speculate. If you don’t know the facts say so, and promise to get back to the media as soon as possible with them. Then be sure to do that.
- Be transparent. Facts don’t always include good news. Say it anyway. Sure, smarten it up – but keep it factual and don’t speculate to soften the message.
- Be first. Report your own news. Don’t let another person or source inform the media or social media first.
Understand that media representatives have an obligation to provide reliable information to their audiences, and they will get that information whether or not you cooperate. If you won’t comment on the situation, you can be sure someone else will. You maintain control by making sure you are at least one of the major sources of media information in a crisis.
In social media, be the source they come to to find out what is happening, or, to stay up to date. Be first with the news, and be assertive. You will gain more respect.