I publish my digital public affairs newsletter each Friday. I usually feature¬†additional analysis, articles on digital public affairs and online engagement, links to interesting content and ideas. It’s free.

This week’s newsletter breaks format to¬†share a story which illustrates a few things:

  • the importance of Twitter as a channel
  • having a relatable approach to online participation
  • building a community before you need to activate it
  • knowing who to follow
  • how digital channels can play an important role in an organization’s communication strategy

I’ve included an excerpt here along with a link to read the rest of the post to learn how the strategy worked.

Secret sauce: How Twitter helped a client in a crisis

I was part of a team hired to help an organization that was dealing with a series of cascading reputation issues. The public was losing trust and had become openly and unashamedly critical of issues involving our client. Among our client’s concerns was their voice and point of view had been excluded from media coverage. They were not part of the discussion and thus not included in considered opinion.

The contract involved crisis communication support, media relations and digital. Given the timing – the contract was signed and kicked off just days before the Christmas holidays – it was decided to start with digital.

I came up with a strategic plan.

  1. Create a Twitter account for the spokesperson and ensure a complete profile with photo, description and URL.
  2. Train the spokesperson on the role, culture and use of Twitter. This included how to tweet from his web browser and Blackberry.
  3. Set up and train the spokesperson on the use of Hootsuite as a tool to tweet and follow key individuals (media, politicians, key participants…) and relevant issues.
  4. Plan a mix of professional and personal tweets using a content calendar. Professionally, the spokesperson could comment on news, share tips with the community and speak on behalf of stakeholders. His immersion in community volunteer work provided a great vehicle to show him as more than a stakeholder himself thus covering the personal/human side.
  5. Tweet at least once a day, everyday for 14 days without announcing his account in any way. I think we even decided to leave out RTs and @replies during that period so as not to draw attention to the account. People finding out on their own would be fine.
  6. Compile a list of journalists, local politicians and key participants to follow, and start following accounts on that list on day 14.

See the entire story and find out how the plan worked…

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