Insights

/ Insights / Crisis Communications: Social Media a Must, Not an Option

Free thinking from Grayling people

Crisis Communications: Social Media a Must, Not an Option

3rd December 2015


Social media is one of the most efficient ways to communicate and engage with relevant audiences that are either impacted by or emotionally invested in a crisis situation. It’s not so much whether a crisis response should include a social media component but rather, how the various social channels can help stop, contain or mitigate a crisis situation.

It’s safe to say that as we approach the end of 2015, most brands and businesses use social media to proactively engage with the people that buy and use their products or services. And it’s also true that most brands strive to build and maintain a following that is sizeable enough to make an impact on marketing efforts. Just take a look at Tide laundry detergent with its 4,050,000 followers on Facebook or Starbucks Coffee with 10.6M followers on Twitter.

These are major brands actively engaging with the audiences that are interested in what they have to say. It would be strange if not damaging, if during a crisis, these brands didn’t communicate via these channels. In the case of a safety oriented situation, it might even be considered negligent on the part of the company.

Depending on the severity and scope of a crisis situation, social channels can be used to intervene in situations in which the participants are misleading others, to correct and introduce facts, to offer assistance, and to convey empathy when damage or suffering is involved.

Social media is not a strategy, it is a set of channels with distinct characteristics and audiences. The challenge for communicators is to consider which channels are relevant, how the audiences differ across those channels, and what messages are required that will resonate with those audiences. Another important factor to consider is setting protocols in advance for when to intervene, what conversations or inflammatory language will not be tolerated, and at what frequency to communicate with actively engaged followers, who in a frantic search for information, may be influenced negatively if a brand leaves a vacuum in its own social media channel.


Grayling Team

Latest Insights

15th November 2016


Is This Real Time?

Will Kunkel, Executive Vice President for Creative and Content in Grayling New York, on the final of our #7for17 trends, Live and Uncut‘Timing is everything’ has been a favorite line to many but...

Read More

8th November 2016


One Small Step for a Brand…

Danica Ross, Grayling San Francisco US Executive Vice President, on how brands can guide themselves through the ‘the new space race’ – part of our #7for17 trends series.In an era where brands...

Read More

3rd November 2016


Strange Bedfellows, or Pragmatic Policy-Making?

Russell Patten, Chair of Grayling’s European Public Affairs practice, looks at one of the major political trends as part of our #7for17 series. It’s been a turbulent year in politics, with the...

Read More