Monday, November 9, 2015

Preparing for Crisis Management

We have been seeing more cases of effective use of social media as part of a crisis management strategy. The incorporation of social media strategy allows for monitoring of situation, informing constituents quickly, and containing a situation. The key to effective social media use in cases of crisis seems to rely to a great extent on preparation. Meanwhile, the worst examples of the use of social media in crisis management seem to be when there was no planning on the use of such tools for this particular purpose. In this blog, in an attempt to identify factors that determine success, I will provide two examples of good social media use in crisis management: Southwest and O2 (a UK telecoms company).

First, when the Southwest Flight 345 ‘crashed’ at LaGuardia, Southwest were quick to response and communicate through their social media accounts. Their reaction contained the situation and allowed them to communicate with people in a timely manner. In turn, their reaction helped Southwest maintain good faith with its customers.1 Here is the first tweet after the incident:

The second example is that of O2, a telecommunication company in UK. O2 is known as an organization who has well established social channels and is active in using them. As a result, in the case when an outage happened, they were able to efficiently employ those channel to communicate with their costumers. What distinguished the case of O2 from Southwest is that the former was responding to individual questions and comments on Twitter and Facebook. While sometimes this strategy might backfire, in their case, they came across as if they are sympathizing with their customers.2 Here are two views regarding the use of social media by O2 in this particular case:

I believe that one of the most important messages that a manager can get from these cases is that preparing for crisis management is necessary. While the way you response and the follow-up is important, having a strategy in place can save you time when a crisis takes place.

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