Social Media is a Must-Have in Any Emergency Notification Plan

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Control the Message

When an emergency takes place, organizations need to reach people where they live with critical information. Many people turn to social media to receive updates regarding ongoing incidents, but not every organization leverages social media during a crisis. This can cause unnecessary confusion and has the potential to increase potential for harm.

This was recently the case on the University of Texas at Austin campus when four students were stabbed. As reported by The Chronicle of Higher Education, while police officers were called to respond to the incident, official word about the incident was not sent to the campus population until thirty minutes after it began. In the interim, students turned to social media where rumors and misinformation spread. Despite the fact the suspect was already in custody by the time official word of the attack was sent, the university acknowledged that it was slow to inform everyone.

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Create Trustworthy Social Media Channels

People need to know where to turn for information when an emergency occurs. Since many people’s first instinct is to check social media, organizations need to create trustworthy channels that are updated regularly. Channels like Facebook and Twitter that have dedicated staff who can provide accurate updates to ongoing situations are valuable resources, and go a long way to combatting misinformation.

Campus Safety Magazine recently compiled an article that walks through best practices for using social media in crisis communications. The article outlines the importance of including social media as part of an effective crisis communication plan. It also outlines best practices for using social media before, during and after a crisis.

As we’ve addressed in previous blog posts, social media can help and harm in the event of an emergency. Being prepared and actively using social media channels can help spread accurate information and minimize the opportunity of people coming into harm’s way.

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Part of a Larger Whole

Social media is a key component of any worthwhile emergency communication plan, but it should be one part of a larger whole. The main goal when an emergency occurs is to spread information to as many people as possible to help keep them safe until the situation is resolved.

InformaCast emergency notification system from Singlewire Software offers three service levels to help organizations meet their mass communication needs. With InformaCast, users can connect to mobile and on-premises devices to send prebuilt messages for any number of scenarios. It can also connect to social media to send out an emergency notification to every possible channel.

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