In a crisis, you may be looking at social media to get information out quickly to your publics, but this is not always the right thinking. Even if you have a well-established social media space, you cannot count on your publics going there for information.
Before You Post
If you have not prepared for posting during a crisis by previously engaging on your social media platforms, a crisis post should not be your first or only post. Use your social media platforms to direct your audience to a single point of information for updates, such as your website, where search engine optimization is already established, and all publics have easy access.
In a crisis, you must:
- Pause all other social media posts unrelated to the crisis.
- Actively listen and monitor social media to know what people are saying and what questions they are asking about the event.
- Ensure that this issue belongs on social media by checking with your social media strategy and decision matrix.
The Initial Post Structure
After confirming that the issue warrants a social media post, use this template to prepare an initial post that conveys critical information and instructions to your publics.
We are aware that [ type of event ] has occurred [ at or associated with ] [ location or name of organization ]. We will post updates to our website as they become available. [ insert website link ]
Remember that a social media post should not read the same as your initial release. The post should:
- Acknowledge the event.
- Direct your audience to where they can find updates (e.g. your website).
In this example, the structure has been applied to show how a post to Facebook or Twitter might look. Note that neither includes an image as it might be inappropriate and detract from the message.
These examples use the exact structure, but this formula is not the only way to construct a post. You should be clear and direct during a crisis. You should alter the template as necessary to fit your audience and ensure that the post has all the required approvals.
Where to Post
Prepared posts need to be one part of your social media strategy and/or crisis response plan. Depending on how active your office is, Twitter may be the best platform for your initial post. If Twitter is not prepared for a crisis communications or if your audience is less active there, Facebook is another option. All posts should direct users to the primary platform that will provide update (ideally, your website).
Remember, the media has a far better distribution system in place, and people accept them as distributors of information. Your publics will still look to them to consume information.