Social Media are now an integral and essential part of the Crisis Communications tool box

Barbara Kracht

At the same IATA Communicators’ seminar in Miami and also earlier on in Singapore, Barbara Kracht highlighted the changes Social Media brought about in post-accident crisis communications. Based on a number of examples drawn from the Air Asia and Germanwings events, Barbara demonstrated how Social Media are now much more than just “rumor” and chat channels used even by passengers to relate their experience. In both cases, Twitter, Facebook and You Tube, to name a few, were proactively used by the affected companies which helped set a new standard in crisis communications. Social Media have in fact become an integral part of the Crisis Communications tool box.

In order to be effective, swiftness in use is, more than ever, mandatory. This does require a lot of prior internal preparation and coordination with those involved in the crisis management of the company. The usually lengthy approval process has to be shortened, so that “Comms” can release the required flow of “posts” in a timely manner. When this is done, these “posts” can become a prime source of information for the media; otherwise other “parties” involved can and will take the lead in shaping the story..

All this requires a lot of preparation beforehand, as well as an adaptation of the Crisis Communications Manual to take this new “tool” and its requirements fully into consideration. One needs to be well “prepared”, also now in respect to this new “tool”.