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OmnilertJul 17, 2014 3:00:00 PM2 min read

The role of social media in crisis management

Social media has long been used as a source of Internet fun, rather than for important corporate communications. But as the digital age pushes on, companies are discovering that social media is essential for disseminating important corporate messages, including emergency management notifications.

A successful emergency management director needs to be an effective communicator and demonstrate flexibility on the job. Often, this can mean having years of experience in the field; but this is not always the case. For Paul Gazdik, the emergency management director of Brown County, Wisconsin, it's his youth and knowledge of new technologies that's leading to success.

The Green Bay Press Gazette reported that one of the 28 year-old's major successes on the job has been his implementation of a social media presence across the county's 18 fire departments, eight police offices and sheriff's office. By using tools like Facebook and Twitter, he's not only been able to increase the positive exposure of his department, but respond to the concerns of residents as well. For instance, the county recently completed a siren test, but some residents couldn't hear it. When they brought their concerns to the county's Twitter feed, the county conducted a second test to iron out the kinks.

How to use social media for crisis management
Gazdik's success comes from his in-depth knowledge of social media and the role it can play in crisis management. To see similar success, there are some important points you should keep in mind:

  • Business2Community noted that timing is critical. As soon as a crisis presents itself, your company should be addressing the issue on social media. This can help you provide instruction to individuals, making the resolution process more efficient.
  • The source also recommends providing a call to action in your message. This way, message recipients are given a clear instruction to improve their situation. If there's one thing people don't like during times of crisis, its being told to sit and wait.
  • Social media can be accessed through numerous devices today, be it a laptop, smartphone, or tablet. In order to make sure your message is reaching all of its desired recipients, you need to use numerous channels in your alert and notification system to efficiently get messages out in a timely fashion.