A recently published report looking into the effect of social media on breaking news has some findings that should be of concern to all those who share responsibility for the reputation of their organisation.
The authors of the report, who interviewed more than 30 journalists from print, broadcast and online media, found that:
- 87% of traditional media believe that their role has changed as a result of social media;
- The speed at which stories break is the single biggest change;
- This increased pace makes accuracy and quality of reporting increasingly challenging;
- Social media makes it much easier for reporters to secure access to both official and unofficial interviewees, images and video footage;
- Organisations who want to protect their reputation when facing crises must adapt their crisis communication protocols to meet the needs of a social media age.
In order to retain an influence over the way in which a crisis plays out, the journalists suggested that organisations undergoing a crisis should use social media to:
- Communicate more quickly;
- Communicate more frequently;
- Provide richer content;
- Engage in dialogue rather than broadcasting messages;
- Adopt an appropriate tone of voice.
It is clear that social media is a game changer for organisations trying to manage their reputation during a crisis and emerge from the event with their good reputation intact. In this new world it is vital that your reputation managers, whether internal or external, have up to the minute information about what is going on and direct access to senior managers who can authorize statements to be issued on behalf of the organisation.
To enable this to happen, reputation managers should be part of your business continuity team and must be plugged directly into your communication and decision-making channels. It is also important that other key players are plugged directly into what official lines are emerging from the reputation managers, so that they remain on message throughout the course of the incident and its aftermath.
Our new Crises Control app can facilitate this mutual exchange of information by ensuring that all of the key players in managing your crisis are plugged into the same communications channels and that those channels will remain up and running throughout the incident, even if you lose access to your building and your IT servers. The apps ability to do this will ensure that everyone knows exactly what is going on, what the key messages are and how to get hold of the right people to talk to if you find a TV crew pointing a camera in your direction.