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Archive for June, 2018

Crisis Social Media – One Piece of a Complicated Puzzle

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

Social media has introduced an interesting component to crisis communications. Not only does social media play a role in communicating important messages during a crisis, but it can also be an emergency instigator in itself. While social media is a buzzword for many, failing to communicate information to stakeholders through other traditional channels, while focusing on social media solely, can worsen any crisis situation.

As a channel of communication that allows users to be co-content-creators, social media can lead to gray areas between facts and fiction. Strive to communicate sensitive information using a variety of channels to ensure your message is received clearly.

One irritator that makes social media crisis communication especially challenging is the wide gap that often exists between the person managing an organization’s social media, and the decision makers who ultimately determine what should be relayed to the public in uncertain situations. As organizations continue to tap into a newer, technology-savvy generation for social media management, there is a barrier of understanding between executives and those who are tactically making social media decisions.

It’s challenging to make judgements without knowing the full intensity of a potential crisis situation. For example, a customer is upset about the way they were treated at a retail store; this could have the potential to blow up and become viral, making you wish you had taken the issue to your company’s leadership earlier or you may have two unhappy customers every single day, and you’re not going to continuously bother your company’s busy leadership just to have a discussion about Patty’s bad experience in the grocery store. So how do you determine what is worth the time investment and what is not?

In crisis conditions, information typically comes more slowly than we wish it would, and we’re left to piece together what we know quickly while remaining transparent and credible. It’s essential to have a crisis communication plan already in place prior to an issue arising. From social media to traditional media relations, having a step by step plan on hand that details actions for all communication channels will guide tough decisions that are necessary under tight time constraints.

There’s also an infection going around right now called “Oh yes social media is so important.” That’s what executives say when they give you advice on how to handle the social media crisis at hand and then you learn that they thought Twitter was a type of bird and they haven’t logged into their LinkedIn for two years. And you think wow, no wonder they just gave me really bad advice. During times such as those, a level of autonomy must be taken by the social media manager, using an understanding of the industry’s key components while still respecting the wishes of a company’s senior leadership. While this is a hard line to ride, it is critical and the sign of a social media pro. It’s also important to emphasize to executives that regardless of the social media response, integrated efforts across all communication channels should still be prioritized to successfully navigate any crisis situation.

The Amusement Park of Life

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Let’s say you’re at Disney World waiting to ride your favorite attraction. You see a sign that the wait is 2-hours long. You hesitate but know that you’ll regret it if you leave without riding the one thing you came to Disney for. More important than the 2-hour wait are the people who stand beside you. Who are you waiting with? If you’re with the right people, those that inspire you and make the mundane more interesting, then the time lapsed won’t seem like waiting, instead it will be an extension of the overall experience. On the other hand, if you’re with people who make a living off of complaining, then that would suck.

In life, waiting is inevitable. We wait for red lights, for restaurants to seat us. We wait for more education or experience. We wait to find partners or start families. If you’re not careful your whole life will simply be a waiting game. Waiting is a necessity, but if you’re waiting with the wrong people, you’re wasting precious time.

Just like the complainers in the line at Disney World, there are people in life who have grown so tired of their own waiting games and ordinary routines that they focus their time on finding new things to complain about and new people to critique. They’re never satisfied because they’re doing nothing to improve their own lives, they’re only looking for ways to grumble about their current situations. It’s easy to become that complainer when you’ve been standing in a Disney World line for 2-hours, it’s 100 degrees out and there are screaming children surrounding you.

But in that moment, that’s when you’ll realize if you’re actually waiting with the right people. Can they make light of the uncomfortable situation? Will they stay positive in the face of heatstroke? Are they distracting you from how much your feet hurt because of how entertaining their stories are? These are the people you want to hold on to.

In the waiting game of life, there will be countless unpleasant moments. Surrounding yourself with the right people will turn any amusement park day of misery into a good memory in the years to come. When you’re truly living life to the fullest, you’ll make it to the front of the line without even realizing how long it took because you were enjoying your time in every queue.