Want to handle crisis communications? Use Social Media and VOST
Summer is here and forest fires have already started in Spain. It is a season when rumors spread through social media even more than during the rest of the years due to the lack of news. If during an accident like the Santiago's derailmenttrain (or any crisis of this magnitude) is important to monitor and control social media, we cannot afford putting at risk citizens now that we have ever more population because of the holiday season.
So, If you are the authority, you’d better follow some advice:
Create the HT and push informacion as soon as possible
It is the best way to monitor and control rumors from the beginning. If you lead the crisis communications process pushing information from the very beginning of the crisis with a hashtag, it will be much easier to follow the conversation and avoid rumors.
If you have not been fast enough and citizens are using other HT use it. In case of forest fire there is a convention here in Spain, so it is simple. We use #IF (meaning forest fire), plus the name of the locality. #IIFF if you are talking about forest fires in general (how to prevent, advice, and so on).
Monitor social media
Monitoring social has never been that simple by using apps, like Hoosuite, Tweetdeck and many others. We are plenty of tools and it is quite sensible to use some of them to save time and organize information, so we know what it is being said about the crisis.
Don’t forget traditional media
Social Media are just one more tool in the toolbox. It is extremely important countering criticism here because of their virality. But traditional media can help us with stopping false information if we ask them to do so. The civil protection chain includes TV, radio, on line newspapers, communication agencies and any other means to transmit the right information so long as the citizens follow them.
Use Whatsapp, direct messages in Twitter, or a traditional phone call to contact them.
Work with VOST teams
The VOST teams are also an essential part of the civil protection chain nowadays. There is no one single Emergency Communications Centre in the world capable of controlling social media if a really big catastrophe strikes, neither in Spain nor anywhere in the world.
So, count on them. VOST teams in Spain work wonderfully. We have the “Dad” account @vostSPAIN plus one account for every territory (17) and 2 more for Ceuta and Melilla.
They formed a very well-coordinated team. Working together with influential people we are fast enough (from the time being) to stop rumor spreading through the web. A WhatsApp group containing influential will be of great help, as it is here is Spain.
Don’t talk to trolls, unless it is necessary
A troll is a person who usually insults your and wants your attention because of notoriety. If you answer them you will act as an amplifier. If the troll is putting neither lives nor properties in danger ignore them. Moreover it they are people with practically no followers and no one pays attention to what they say. Don’t give them a thought, if they don’t interfere with the command and control operation to solve the crisis.