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Crisis Management through Social Media

Studied art and fashion design at Manchester then Westminster University. In the past 15 years Colin has been part of the buying team at Burberry, an Angel Investor, corporate film and TV producer, and for the last 6 years has run his own digital agency. An online social adoptee from 2005. He’s an exhibited artist.

I was in the unfortunate position a number of years ago (2007 – feels like decades ago now) of being involved in a rather delicate PR situation (an absolute horror) – admittedly I was on the sidelines but felt the strain enough to know it was a struggle. I just wish I knew then what I know now – we learn through experience and the mistakes we make…

I was asked recently by a client marketing team to provide a strategy for peace of mind to the Board because although they can see the benefits, they’ve heard horror stories and know that as humans we all make mistakes. Suffice to say the old memories came flooding back – having shared a little on the Go-Social Linkedin Group and been asked by Arvind Salwan (New Media Corp) at his Social Media Unleashed event to divulge the process I will give you some basic tools. Please consider this an overview and by no means exhaustive – and when creating a truly effective plan there are many more elements to consider:


1. Get on to the Social Web and develop your brands social presence and voice

2. Develop a list of online influencers – and build the relationship before a Crisis starts; make the relationship personal

3. Develop Crisis Messaging and adapt it to the various social channels – consider all media channels

4. Identify and train Marketing & Communications Staff for Social Media and the approach to adopt

5. Use a closed collaborative site to manage your communication strategy

6. Set up and activate a Crisis Site (Blog format is best) to ensure it can take comments and feedback as well as video – a personal message from the CEO is a big resolver

7. Build a list of keywords (negative and positive) to use for SEO / SEM – search engine optimisation / search engine marketing

8. Identify potential multimedia responses and the key players necessary to create and deliver them


1. Update your website (Homepage and News) with the Crisis Message

2. Update your Blog as a Forum for Responses

3. Activate your Twitter Hashtag for Response and Redirects

4. Constant dialogue on all channels pointing responses to your Crisis page

5. Deploy a keyword buy across major search engines


1. Keyword Marketing to Promote the Crisis site

2. Online Advertising – on Blogs and Websites as appropriate

3. Create and opitmise a variety of multimedia content to help tell your story in multiple ways

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