Social convergence has empowered our audiences: they now form their own collective (almost hive-like) alerting systems and their own news networks. In other words, when a crisis erupts or an incident occurs, they'll often have more information at their disposal then you will. So what to do? How to stay relevant?
It begins and ends with listening: social media monitoring. From gauging the initial reactions and amplification of your alerting/warning messages to engaging in continued dialogue, having the ability to listen is now a critical element of any crisis comms response. Again, here are the five reasons why social listening is a must in an emergency or crisis:
- validating how your messages are being received/acted upon
- detecting rumours that put public safety in jeopardy or may hinder your response
- isolating and routing calls for help through appropriate channel (we know people will call for help on social networks ... what will you do?
- identifying threats to your reputation that could lessen your ability to fulfill your mandate
- adding to your comprehension of the incident by enhancing your situational awareness (people will share videos, pictures, tweets, messages about what's going on.