Social Media and Crises: Identify Audiences Before You Need Them

Having learned how powerful social media can be during events like the Haiti earthquake, Capt. Dave Werner of the U.S. Navy Office of Information and Tracy Johnson of Booz Allen Hamilton offer some tips for using social media during a crisis:

1. Before a crisis: Identify your key audiences in a crisis (e.g. families, employees, community) and how you will communicate with them in a crisis. Ensure your key audiences in a crisis situation know how you will put out information (e.g., family care line, Web site, Facebook, local radio, television).

2. During: Actively use your social media presences to communicate relevant and timely information. Accuracy is important but don’t delay putting out useful information that can affect the safety and security of your audience. Listen to what your audiences say to you via social media and respond appropriately.

3. After: Continue to provide interesting updates and information to your audiences to maintain interest in your page. Thank your community members for spreading the word and supporting each other through this crisis.

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