On why business comms folk NEED to know (a lot) about social media

by Lee Hopkins on April 13, 2006 · 11 comments

in miscellaneous

Who_you_gonna_call Shel and Neville, in their discussion about the International Association of Nobodies on FIR #127, reflected that the whilst the ability to set up such communication tactics within a short space of time was useful for charities and community-driven projects, they failed to believe that corporates could do similarly.

Yet I disagree; there is no reason why corporate communicators cannot set up wikis, blogs, squidoo lenses et al within a very short space of time.

Let us assume, for example, and God forbid, that another Katrina-like event occurs in your city and as a result there is a large displacement of individuals. Or let’s assume, God forbid, that another 9/11 occurs and corporate doors suddenly find themselves slammed shut through no fault of their own.

How do these organisations communicate to their anxious publics? How do they suddenly and rapidly get tools in place to allow communication with their employees, with anxious family members, with anxious shareholders and financial analysts, with the public at large? Even just one-way, top-down communication, if not two-way conversations?

As far as I can see, if the corporate web server is knocked out, it is only third-party services like hosted wikis and blogs and squidoo that are able to be quickly set up and get exposure on google.

Within 24 hours of a catastrophic event, communicators can engage with their audiences and put anxious minds at rest — or at least provide something, if we agree that the worst kind of stress is caused by simply not knowing anything and that giving an audience something at least relieves a tiny bit of their stress.

If corporate communicators are currently not ‘up to speed’ on setting up wikis, blogs and a squidoo lens, then they owe it to their employers to ‘skill up’ as quickly as possible. Or else find someone in their organisation who is and get them immediately and intimately involved in any crisis management plans and discussions you have.

If they are your only line of communication to your publics, then they had better know everyone’s cellphone and the ‘C’ team — CEO, CTO, CIO, CFO, COO, their VPs, you — had better know theirs.

 

  • http://www.sayitbetter.com/ Kare Anderson

    I agree, and wih you and your coherts might be sharing this message at some of the conferences of government professionals (not just the disaster folks) such aas National League of Cities….

    … and, on other notes, for more ways to look at our world, see Worldmapper and Picture Cloud… …

    and your name was (positively) brought up at the Steve Rubel-organized geek dinner earier this week, nearby in S.F….

    and re our past blog posts on the great ads to visit Australia, a non-bloody version is running on S.F. Bay reaa TV stations now, in heavy rotation.

  • http://www.sayitbetter.com Kare Anderson

    I agree, and wih you and your coherts might be sharing this message at some of the conferences of government professionals (not just the disaster folks) such aas National League of Cities….

    … and, on other notes, for more ways to look at our world, see Worldmapper and Picture Cloud… …

    and your name was (positively) brought up at the Steve Rubel-organized geek dinner earier this week, nearby in S.F….

    and re our past blog posts on the great ads to visit Australia, a non-bloody version is running on S.F. Bay reaa TV stations now, in heavy rotation.

  • http://leehopkins.net/ Lee

    ok, ok,….

    wat was said by whom and what are the relevant links to the entities you mentioned?

  • http://leehopkins.net Lee

    ok, ok,….

    wat was said by whom and what are the relevant links to the entities you mentioned?

  • http://wesley.prblogs.org/ Wes

    You bring up a very interesting idea that could possibly work. As I learn more about social media I learn about some things it can be used for. But I had never heard of blogs or wikis being used in disastrous times.

    I think that would be a very effective use of social media. Granted, it would not be the only way of getting your business back up and running. But it would be a good start.

  • http://wesley.prblogs.org Wes

    You bring up a very interesting idea that could possibly work. As I learn more about social media I learn about some things it can be used for. But I had never heard of blogs or wikis being used in disastrous times.

    I think that would be a very effective use of social media. Granted, it would not be the only way of getting your business back up and running. But it would be a good start.

  • http://www.qaqna.com/ Tom Vander Well

    Yes! Yes! Yes! I completely agree with you. I’ve had a lot of snotty “It must be nice to have time for that” looks from people when I mention my blog. The reality is that it took me less than ten minutes to set up my first blog and publish my first post. I’ve invested a small amount of time upgrading since then, but it can be done with a relatively small amount of time each day AND the ROI is amazing.

  • http://www.qaqna.com/ Tom Vander Well

    Yes! Yes! Yes! I completely agree with you. I’ve had a lot of snotty “It must be nice to have time for that” looks from people when I mention my blog. The reality is that it took me less than ten minutes to set up my first blog and publish my first post. I’ve invested a small amount of time upgrading since then, but it can be done with a relatively small amount of time each day AND the ROI is amazing.

  • http://www.leehopkins.net/ Lee

    G’day Tom! Indeed, it IS a lot simpler than some would have you believe (although, like any new toy, it can get as complicated as you want to make it if you want the bells and whistles). Great to have you onboard the blogosphere, mate!

  • http://www.leehopkins.net Lee

    G’day Tom! Indeed, it IS a lot simpler than some would have you believe (although, like any new toy, it can get as complicated as you want to make it if you want the bells and whistles). Great to have you onboard the blogosphere, mate!

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