3 Relationships That Shift During a Crisis

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A crisis can strike your brand at any moment on any social media platform. And no matter the scenario — data breach, employee scandal or hashtag hijacking — your brand will almost immediately find itself under scrutiny.

So how can your brand share its side of the story? By identifying the right places and people to mobilize.

With a real-time crisis management strategy and strong influencer relations, you’ll be able to communicate with those who are interested in what your brand has to say and persuade them to stand by your side.

Ready to prepare an active strategy? Here are three relationships that could shift when your brand confronts a crisis and how to evolve your communication strategy in response.

1. Audience


The people you engage with on a daily basis can differ greatly from the people following and commenting on your brand’s crisis. For example, your brand might typically spend more time and energy engaging Facebook followers, but if a troll starts causing havoc with her incessant tweets, you may want to shift your attention to your Twitter audience before the negative social mentions spread.

With social listening tools, brands can monitor what’s being said on which platforms and how much of an impact it has to determine how and if to respond. Sometimes, as seen in Visit North Carolina’s case, putting the situation into context may reveal a response is unnecessary.

However, if you notice your brand’s name mentioned often in relation to the crisis, you will want to reassess who and where to focus on and what type of messaging to use to combat the negative talk.

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2. Influencer

While it’s important to get executives involved in a crisis, the key to reaching and being heard by your audience lies in the power of influencers. Influencers give your brand credibility and also put your brand in front of the right audience even in the most chaotic of times.

With a media database, brands can find the right influencers and segment them into various lists depending on topic, location and audience demographics. However, even though you should dedicate the majority of your time on the top 20 percent of your list, that doesn’t mean those influencers will be the right ones to reach out to once a crisis arises.

For example, Visit North Carolina’s Scott Peacock chose to team up with a Florida-based expert when multiple shark bites occurred last summer. By choosing to work with an influencer outside of the state, Scott pushed attention away from North Carolina.

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3. Media

Similar to influencer outreach, media outreach in a time of crisis will differ greatly from a typical day. Depending on how fast your crisis develops and where it has the most impact, you might find yourself reaching out to outlets and journalists you might not otherwise target in your overall pitching strategies.

By understanding your new target audience and business goals, you’ll have a better understanding of which outlets to focus on to help combat the developing crisis.

In Visit North Carolina’s case, Scott and his team targeted The Washington Post because its readership makes up a large portion of the state’s tourism and National Geographic because it would discuss the science behind the story.

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Images via Pixabay: 1, 2

About Katie Gaab

Katie Gaab is a content marketing specialist for Cision. Previously the senior editor for Help A Reporter Out (HARO), she enjoys connecting audiences to exciting, new content. She's a dancer, avid concert-goer, foreign language nerd and book worm. Find her on Twitter @kathryngaab.

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