Weigh In: Should corporate communicators (internal and/or external) be using social media tools in their response to the swine flu?

Join In:  Should corporate communicators be using social media tools in their response to the swine flu —  if so, which ones, and how? Are they appropriate for internal as well as external (PR) communications? Which are best practice for this crisis, and for crisis communication in general?

Please share your thoughts and comments — choose the comments link above.

In Category: Crisis Communication, Human Resources, Social Media

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Dom Crincoli

Show 7 Comments
  • Pat Ratulangi May 1, 2009, 4:57 pm Link

    Twitter is great for minute by minute street observations, not so great for aggregation, interpretation. With the swine flu, I’d focus on tweets by authoritative sources such as the CDC or WHO. Wouldn’t advise putting in a constant search on hashtag swineflu – too much too quickly feeds the panic

  • Toby Ward May 1, 2009, 5:30 pm Link

    At this point in time, unless you’re in a high-risk area, I think an occasional home page update on the corporate intranet should suffice. Most individuals are fully up-to-date via external media, but the organization has a duty to communicate its own plans. Of course, employees should be able to subscribe to news alerts via RSS. However, if an internal micro-blogging tool is used (e.g. Yammer or using Twitter), then you can tweet the most recent update. I suppose you could do a podcast or blog post, but that strikes me as overkill at a time when there are probably a lot of other pressing priorities (unless the organization has been hit by a flu outbreak).


  • Dave Pelland May 1, 2009, 5:56 pm Link

    It probably depends on the audience, the message and how involved the company is with social media. If the company’s trying to send a ‘business as usual’ message, then using its standard channels is probably the best route.

    Overall, most companies probably should be using social media anyway. But if they’re not, they may be better off picking a calmer time or more routine subject to start.

  • editor May 1, 2009, 5:57 pm Link

    FROM @patratu on TWITTER: @patratu: @DomCrincoli #ccm09 Combination of email and links to CDC tweets, RSS on intranet postings

  • Sherif May 1, 2009, 11:10 pm Link

    Biggest problem with Yammer but – if an Employee leaves the organisation, they can still login to Yammer – not sure how the SaaS can over come this – Yammer would be more successful if it was offered as a package organisations could deploy within their walls and control.

  • Judy Jones May 4, 2009, 3:13 pm Link

    Dom, this is a terrific blog. We’re updating general information for the business-side employee population on our HR and benefits intranet. But it’s all face-to-face and targeted contact for our journalists who are working in areas where they’re potentially exposed while covering stories. It may be that social media is being used in specific cases among our journalists, but it’s not being used generally. I think having updates on the intranet conveys a sense of awareness as well as calm.

  • editor May 5, 2009, 12:42 pm Link

    I think the best response I’ve seen was by the Mayo Clinic, who posted video to their intranet featuring an infectious disease specialist (documented here by Ragan– Mayo puts a human face on swine flu) http://tinyurl.com/dg9z2l. The video was announced via e-mail with a link and was featured on the intranet. I would also concur with Judy, who mentioned that updates on the intranet conveys a sense of awareness and calm. Again, I think properly produced video gets it right for this type of crisis communication. And, most importantly, per Toby’s comment, I think ongoing real time updates by the medical director via Yammer is also a best practice. The company must indicate that they have a plan and that they are on top of the crisis. Social media can help.