How Can Businesses Use Twitter During A PR Crisis
Many businesses could not imagine a world without Twitter, even though it only arrived on the scene in 2006.
Whether they use everyone’s favourite micro-blogging service to build brand awareness or encourage user engagement, it has become an essential tool for communicating with the public.
The instant nature of tweeting makes Twitter a particularly effective tool for dealing with a PR crisis.
So how can you make good use of Twitter when disaster strikes?
Monitor Twitter for Brand Mentions
Twitter is most effective during a PR crisis when you are quick to react to the situation, and this means you should constantly monitor conversations. The best way to do this is by using a third-party tool to track all mentions of your brand.
The most effective tools will allow you to monitor a range of social networks, blogs and forums. As soon as you discover a problem, you can then use Twitter to provide an instant reaction to help diffuse the situation before it gets out of control.
Educate Your Staff on Twitter Usage
As mentioned above, Twitter allows you to react very quickly to any emerging crises.
However, sometimes you can shoot yourself in the foot as a direct result of this attribute.
Rather than firing off the first tweet that you can think of in response to the crisis, think carefully about what you are going to say.
In addition, ensure that the response from your company is unified so that you avoid various, sometimes contradictory, responses all emerging at the same time.
By making Twitter an integral part of your crisis response plan, you can ensure that all of your employees are aware of how it should be used in a crisis and when they should not use it at all.
Link to a More In-Depth Response
Twitter famously only allows 140-character posts, which is not a lot of room to post a detailed response to a crisis.
Instead, write a more detailed post on your blog or website, or even film a short video (which can be the most effective type of response), and then use the instant nature of Twitter to direct people back to this. This is a strategy often used by digital PR agencies and can help to flesh out your response.
Build a Community
Your best weapon when using Twitter as a crisis response tool is formed well before any crisis emerges.
Take preventative action by building your community on Twitter on a gradual basis, during which time you may build up a number of brand ambassadors.
These people, sometimes influential voices with large communities of their own, can help to defend your brand and support you when a crisis breaks, which can be far more effective than trying to defend yourself.
Don’t Let Twitter Become the Cause of the PR Crisis
Twitter can be a great way to respond to a crisis, but don’t forget that many PR crises have erupted through the platform itself. Make sure you have firm rules and guidelines in place for your staff governing what they can and cannot post on Twitter and all social media channels.
One quick tweet posted without thinking can have huge repercussions, so beware of the negative PR implications of using Twitter as well as the positive.