December 9, 2017

When signs arise that a crisis is unfolding related to your college or university, the social media team should assess the situation to determine the facts and potential impact throughout your communities. Consider these factors before initiating posts or responding on social media:

  • Is the situation actively being discussed on social media?
  • Is discussion of the information or situation accurate?
  • Is the discussion gaining traction?
  • Who’s fueling it on social media?
  • Is engagement appropriate, and when?

When considering whether and how to respond, be sure to:

  • Beware of “trolls” who post regularly. These posters want to be provocative; by engaging with them, you may raise their profile or even legitimize their cause.
  • Correct credible, but factually incorrect information through a brief response or link to a statement that makes clear the information is erroneous.
  • Temporarily pause any prescheduled institution posts that could be seen as tone deaf in light of the social conversation taking place.
  • Seek engagement, if possible, from social media influencers who can be helpful.
  • Monitor sentiment of social media posts and consider a blog post, a campuswide email, or a meeting to restate the facts, answer questions, or communicate next steps.

A potential crisis can be contained or inflamed depending on your institution’s response. Ensure that your team is prepared to address a wide range of situations as described in “The New Digital Normal on Campus.”

 

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