04/25/2013 (press release: emilie.legrand) // George Guildford

Crisis communications is a service usually offered within PR campaigns, but as the industry evolves to fit the digital age, it can also be especially important within social media, says Punch Communications, an integrated search, social media and PR company.

Now that news is often posted on social media sites, it can be seen and shared by others at an incredible rate. In addition to their regular websites, many news outlets now also have verified social profiles, through which stories can be pushed out more quickly and to a wider audience. This can be seen with Sky News (@SkyNews), which has over 700,000 followers, and BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking), which has attracted over 5 million followers.

When a brand crisis erupts, social media can easily share the news to thousands if not millions of people within minutes, so ensuring any social media campaign has a crisis management strategy in place is important for a brand’s reputation. Brands can implement a number of different tactics to ensure a crisis is handled in the most efficient way possible with limited damage; these include using software or ‘listening’ tools as well as strategic community management. Additionally, gathering data throughout the duration of the crisis can be helpful to analyse and plan for the future.

George Guildford, a senior account director at Punch, says: “As news can be instantly accessible via social media it is important for brands to have a strategy in place to manage an online crisis. This can be approached in several ways. The brand should monitor any ‘noise’ around specific keywords or phrases, that relate to the crisis. This can be done manually or alternatively using social media listening tools.”

George continues: “Noting the source of a crisis is also key. If it was first seen on a blog, many of which have social sharing buttons, then track the amount of shares it is receiving from each network. From this, a community management strategy can be established, to determine if responses should be issued to individual users, or if just one post explaining the situation is required. Eventually, by pinpointing what caused the problem in the first place, a plan of action for the future can be created to avoid a repeat performance.”

Punch Communications is an integrated PR, search and social media company with a client base from start-ups to global brands. If you are currently interviewing SEO agencies, or are interested in social media services from Punch, call 01858411600.

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