Editor’s Note: This is the second part of a 3-part series from three social media and crisis management pros sharing the biggest lessons they learned in 2012 and what they foresee in terms of social media crisis management in 2013. Yesterday we heard from Karen Freberg, and today I’m very happy to be publishing Jane Jordan-Meier’s thoughts and reflections.
About Jane: Principal of Jane Jordan & Associates, an international boutique training, coaching and advisory firm, Jane is a high-stakes communications and media coach with more than two decades of experience in working with executive management in both the government and the private sectors.
Jane’s online crisis management reflections of 2012 and forecasts for 2013
In terms of social media and online crisis management, what are the biggest lessons you’ve learned in 2012?
In terms of social media, it is important to never underestimate the power of human emotion and the simple things in life, as witnessed by the overwhelming sharing of the image of American President Barack Obama embracing his wife after he was re-elected. A simple but powerful image that captured the hearts and minds of millions of people. Now that was a very positive image but think how powerful negative images can be too. Pictures are often the first and most shared in a crisis or a disaster. Witness Super storm Sandy and the harrowing pictures. Similarly the images of Pakistani school girl Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Taliban.
A crisis always brings victims to the fore – essentially a crisis or a disaster is always about the victims. (And the victim is not always a person, it may be well be the environment as we saw with the Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico.)
What forecast and advice can you give to companies and organizations for their online crisis management in 2013?
Everything is going mobile and we will continue to see a more fluid world of personal device interconnectivity. This has major ramifications for crisis communication. How quickly can you mobilize not only digitally but also in a meaningful way? Facebook’s messaging system will be one to watch. The other key thing is to remember the speed of the news cycle today – and how quickly rumours and untruths can spread – witness the latest fiasco with the fake press release purporting that Google had acquired ICOA. The relentless speed of the 24/7 news cycle meant that the release originally distributed on PR Web The release was quickly picked up by media outlets from small blogs to the Associated Press and eager journalists provided insight regarding the importance of the acquisition. Lots of red faces and hand wringing when it became obvious that it was indeed false. Rumour management will continue to be a major challenge. Communicate early and often is key.
What tools, channels and/or online strategies do you foresee as being the most crucial to a company’s online reputation management in 2013?
The changes to Facebook will be interesting to watch – yet again. Mobile, mobile, mobile.