10 Tips on How to Handle a Crisis on Twitter

Image: mashable.com

It’s been one crisis after another this week for the Obama administration. The White House is now grappling with a series of crises involving the IRS investigating conservative political organizations and the Justice Department’s decision to subpoena two months of phone and email records from reporters and editors at the Associated Press.

Crises, of course, are endemic to the nation’s capital. But they also occur on a fairly regular basis at the corporate level. And with the growing clout of social channels, a crisis can travel across the planet before PR pros can even put their shoes on.

That’s why it’s more important than ever for communicators to use Twitter as a platform for monitoring potential crises, rather than just engaging in online conversation.

In this excerpt from PR News’ Digital PR Guidebook, Dallas Lawrence, chief global strategist at Burson Marsteller, provides several tips for using Twitter during a crisis:

1. Develop a social media crisis plan that integrates Twitter from the beginning

2. Know and engage your key drivers early and often

3. People want to hear from people, not logos

4. Ensure cross-platform integration from the beginning

5. Be sure you know what you are talking about

6. When you blow it, own up to it

7. Integrate paid and earned

8. If you build it on Twitter, they may not come

9. Listen with the intent to engage

10. Lighten the mood


What do you think? Anything we’re missing?

For the full report on this topic, plus dozens of other actionable tips and tactics for digital communications, order the 2013 PR News Digital Guidebook now.

Follow Matthew Schwartz: @mpsjourno1

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About Matthew Schwartz

Group Editor, PR News: Matthew Schwartz is group editor of PR News, the leading source of trends, how-to content and best practices for PR professionals. Matthew leads the editorial strategy for PR News’ premium content products—including its weekly newsletter—and for its digital presence. Matthew was editor of PR News from 2003-2005. Prior to returning to PR News, Matthew was a reporter for Crain’s BtoB and Media Business magazines, where he covered business marketers and media companies. He was also editor of BMA Buzz, a biweekly email newsletter covering B2B marketing, advertising and social media, and contributing writer to Advertising Age Custom. Matthew has helped to launch blogs on behalf of ZoomInfo and direct marketing agency The Kern Organization. He also spent a few years in cable-news precincts, working as a writer/producer at CNN and Fox News Channel.

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