Use social media to curtail a crisis

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What You’ll Learn:: 

Golly, people often tell the Red Cross’ Laura Howe, you handle so many disasters, you must be great at doing crisis communication.

She may be good at it, but the premise is wrong. A hurricane or earthquake isn’t a crisis—not for a relief organization that responds to them every day.

A real crisis is reputational. Find out how you can use social media to fight back when you’re under fire.

In this session, learn:

  • How to build nimble social media so you can be ready when things go wrong
  • How monitoring helps you spot a potential issue
  • How content drives home your side of the story
  • When and how to respond to your critics online
  • Why and how to engage employees, fans and followers to advocate on your behalf

The canary in a coalmine is a cliché, but it’s true of social media.

If there’s a crisis, Howe says, “I’m going to see it on social before I see it anywhere else. I’m going to see it mostly on Twitter before I will ever get a call from CNN or The Wall Street Journal or some other media outlet.”

Learn how social media can be means to get information to disaster victims. Howe details the Red Cross’ keys to success:

  • Have a plan
  • Be able to scale
  • Monitor and engage
  • Generate solid content
  • Use your data

Learn how to empower online social communities to execute your mission. Provide valuable user-focused news and tools to help staffers prepare, prevent and respond to emergencies.

Find out how to grow your network of passionate supporters. The secrets: Listen, engage and act on public conversations to improve services, enhance reputation and build trust. Empower every business unit to use social media to serve their stakeholders and inform business decisions

Learn about the Red Cross’ digital operations center, and how it visualizes information from Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube, and other sites. And gather ideas on how to better manage data so it will be useful for decision makers.

The Red Cross does it all with three full-time staff—but it also relies on than 30 digital volunteers.

Learn why you need a program to trains others to advocate on your behalf, and how to embrace spontaneous advocates and put them to work. Be a resource. Guide, don’t mandate.

From community building to using content to make your point, you’ll learn invaluable lessons here.

November 2012

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Presenter bio: 

Laura Howe is vice president of public relations for the American National Red Cross. Laura plans and executes the PR and corporate media strategies for the Red Cross. She is one of the main Red Cross spokespeople and oversees day-to-day media relations and crisis communications. She manages specialized communication teams for disaster services, international services, biomedical services, services to armed forces and chapter operations. Laura also heads the social media team.