Is Your Hospital Ready to Use Social Media for Crisis Communications?
- Crisis Communications: the use of social media tools such as Blogs, Twitter, Facebook and event specific pages added to a hospital website are among the many tools being used by hospital public relations teams. Making sure you have a plan in place BEFORE a crisis occurs is essential. Be sure to designate WHO will be responsible for posting and monitoring these tools. Social media will not only push your message out, it allows the media and the community to respond and ask questions. Be sure you have a system in places for timely responses.
- Media Training: Be sure your spokesperson(s) are kept informed of the ways in which social media can be utilized to communicate information about a specific event. You may want to consider offering a social media 101 as part of ongoing media training activities.
- Employee Relations: While you likely have “official” spokespeople who are trained to address the media, be sure your employees are also informed about the ways social media are being used during a crisis. Not only will they rely on these tools for timely info, they will be able to direct friends and family to log on to the sites being used.
- Include Links: Social media tools should only provide small, relevant snippets of information to your followers. Be sure to include a link to your website, or a micro site, where more detailed information is being posted regularly. You may decide social media tools like Twitter are best used to inform reporters and followers that new information has been posted on your website.
- Media Relations: Do not let social media lead your crisis communication strategy. Chances are your best media relationships were built over time and you owe it your contacts to still answer the phone, provide press briefings and schedule interviews if appropriate. Let social media be a tool in your tool box, not something to hide behind.