14 July 2014

Workshops in Singapore and Hong Kong to discuss social media crisis management

Pacific Conferences has organised a two-day practical workshop on Crisis & Social Media in Singapore and Hong Kong to help companies deal with the increasing number of social media crises that are occurring today.

Companies tend to make several mistakes when dealing with social media crises, says Phillip Raskin, Managing Director of Spectrum Communications and former MD of Burson-Marsteller Korea, who will be conducting the workshop. 

"The most common mistake is not understanding soon enough whether they've got a serious problem. It's natural – companies are full of people, and people are busy, especially in today's organisations, and there is so much information going back and forth and so much to keep track of. 

"So there's often an element of 'hoping it will go away' or at least hoping the issue will not grow any further which sometimes results in a delayed reaction, and therefore more trouble down the road.

"Another is trying to solve the issue on 'your terms' versus the terms of what's happening. You see some brands and especially more civic/ governmental organisations do that sometimes, especially if they're more accustomed to controlling the conversation. That's usually where an issue gets brought up on a Facebook page or a tweet and the response comes out something like 'we don't want you to talk about that', and usually then the reaction becomes worse than the initial issue. 

"Part of this is being realistic about your situation and where you sit – the Internet almost always supports Goliath over David and companies are increasingly having their operations and business practices  called into question. So understand yourself and your potential vulnerabilities from an outside, dispassionate perspective, and be ready to work with that. In essence, work with the real world and not the world you want it to be.

"Finally, you need to have a defined social media team – and that doesn't mean you hire a bunch of interns because they're 'digital natives'. You need a mix of people with crisis experience, company knowledge, authority and perspective. You need that team to have guidelines and an understanding of key issues and appropriate responses, and you need them to be empowered to act," he said.

Raskin stressed that things have changed with social media. "This is not like it used to be, where every press release and statement gets vetted by the board or an extended family of suddenly interested parties from every department. It has to be a framework for responding, with clear escalation points and clear actions and responsibilities, that can be enacted while that board or C-suite group is discussing things. Otherwise, everything will get stuck in committee and you'll be getting killed online for hours or days before you can fire back a single tweet."

The Singapore session will be 21 to 22 August and the Hong Kong session on 28 to 29 August 2014. Each session will go through case studies and hands-on exercises, social media monitoring techniques, anticipating potential crises, action plans, messaging strategies and rebuilding trust post-crisis.

The full programme can be found here.