People utilize social media for a variety of reasons, and in the midst of a crisis these outlets are invaluable. All nonprofits with social media accounts should be prepared to use these sites and apps should a crisis situation unfold.According to Kristofer Karol, director of social media strategy at Indiana University (Indianapolis, IN), social media allows nonprofits to communicate directly with those affected. Your organization can let followers know people are safe, provide updates and give instructions. Users can voice their concerns and ask questions.“As a large university, Indiana University utilizes social media quite heavily during issues and crises,” Karol explains. “We know, especially given one of our largest audiences is students, that our followers are more likely to tweet at us than pick up the phone, so that's why we spend a great deal of effort on customer response. You might not always have the answer they're searching for, but people get nervous during a crisis, and many times, they just want to be acknowledged and heard.”With this in mind, Karol offers five tips for sharing information via social media:Gather all key stakeholders to ensure consistent messaging. Everyone needs to be on the same page. Additionally, everyone should also be reminded that information should only come from central social media accounts.Be sure to check your organization's scheduled posts. You do not want an insensitive or irrelevant post to appear in the midst of a crisis.Stay strong. “People will possibly get testy with you on social (media) or try to provoke you, but you can never waver from official, approved statements,” Karol says. “You can acknowledge that you received their question or concern and that you'll share either with the appropriate party, but a crisis is not the time for the social media manager to pretend they are the organization's spokesperson.”Post regular updates. While you may not have new information to share, posting every 20 to 30 minutes is a good rule of thumb. Even if you simply say there is no new news, it lets followers know you are doing something. If you remain silent, you run the risk of rumors starting.Don't feed the trolls. “Some people just want to rattle the cage, but you need to stay above the fray, regardless of the chatter,” Karol says.Source: Kristofer Karol, Director of Social Media Strategy, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN. Phone (317) 274‐0176. E‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.iu.edu
Nonprofit Communications Report – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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