Social media and young people are a match made in heaven, especially when it comes to spreading viral topics within an academic institution.
Nevertheless, surveys show that most colleges and universities usually do not immediately bring discussions to social media, even when they have the most need for it.
Although most academic institutions of higher education regularly use social media to disseminate information, a few schools go further as to use social networks for crisis communications.
Studies about social media crisis management have found that 96 percent to 100 percent of schools in the U.S. use Facebook while 80 percent to 94 percent use Twitter.
Colleges and universities often have to pass or sanction crisis communication plans; 42 percent of school bodies enacted policies one to three times, whereas 7 percent enacted policies four to six times over the past year.
About 85 percent of schools already have crisis communication policies or plans of action and 59 percent of those policies deal with proper social media crisis management.
Nearly two-thirds (66 percent) of schools reported the use of social media platforms to discuss events that may potentially damage reputation, whereas nearly the same (65 percent) number of schools reported discussions through traditional media that may be as potentially harmful.
Not all academic institutions are into social media; 5 percent of colleges and universities do not even know if they are talked about on the platform.
Last year, 56 percent of schools did not make the most of social media for crisis and issues management – down 2 percent from 2011, whereas 22 percent took advantage of the platform – up 4 percent from 2011.
Social Media Crisis Management
When crisis takes place, social media is a remarkable channel to spread, share, and respond to information fast.
Here are the basic steps on how to manage crisis through social media, together with some best practices:
1. Choose and enforce a social media monitoring system.
2. Come up with a social media policy.
3. Carry out a social media management system.
4. Launch the connection,inclusion, or registration of campus social media accounts.
5. Empower a community manager to keep track and supervise campus social media.
1. Reply to comments, tweets, or mentions, at the most appropriate time, usually afterschool hours or during breaks.
2. Look for ways to turn around bad situations and negative comments.
3. Formulate a response plan for crises and prepare the right responses for each crisis.
4. Train or educate the social media team to manage emergencies.
5. When called for, ask people to contact you in private for a more thorough exchange of ideas.
Here is an infographic by Online Colleges that gives a visual representation of the above information.