Crisis management via social media

- Agnieszka Chwiałkowska, M.Sc.

The increasing popularity of social media gives businesses a wide spectrum of possibilities to enter into dialogue and interaction with consumers, to better understand their needs, to build durable relations with clients and to maintain brand communities. Thanks to social media, content may be transmitted with unprecedented speed when it „goes viral”. The consumer has been undergoing change too, now expecting instant answers to all his questions and doubts and more often than ever expressing complaints about a company in the media sphere of the internet. All these factors combine to give organizations new challenges to face. Overcoming these requires appropriate preparation. The goal of this paper is to present some examples of organizations dealing with crises using social media. Additionally, the paper describes some organizations which failed to tap into the potentialities offered by social networking services and ignored the power of virtual communities. This approach will allow us to formulate a code of good practice regarding crisis management through social networks so that organizations are adequately prepared to respond to a crisis in a way that not only helps them to avoid failure but will actually strengthen their image Since the 1982 scandal of cyanide-laced Tylenol much has changed, particularly due to the rise of the internet economy. Crisis management in this new reality, especially in the sphere of public relations, has assumed a new character. With the advent of the Internet and social media, textual, image and video messages spread like wildfire instantly reaching people all over the world. Owing to modern technologies a crisis situation can develop rapidly from one negative piece of information (revealed by anyone) about an organization resulting in its being besieged by an entire community of angry clients. Moreover, in virtual reality it is very difficult to keep information secret or delete potentially damaging information, which poses an even greater challenge for PR specialists. The purpose of this article is to show how organizations can cope with a crisis situation using their presence in social media. In contrast, the paper also describes some organizations which failed to tap into potentialities offered by social networks and ignored the power of virtual communities. This approach will enable formulating good practices regarding crisis management using social media. The research was conducted by the method of active observation, which enabled insights to be gained into the ways and rules of the functioning of internet communities from the insider’s perspective. Secondary sources were also used for the purposes of the work.

Agnieszka Chwiałkowska, M.Sc., Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland – doctoral student of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Management. Specialized in social media marketing for commercial and non-profit of organizations and in relation marketing. Author of a series of publications concerning social media, relational marketing, Generation Y and crowdsourcing (both in Polish and English). Holds trainings and workshops concerning these subjects. Appears at national and foreign conferences associated with the subject of new media. She participated in a scientific apprenticeship programme at Hanken School of Economics (Helsinki, Finland), where she carried out research on the subject of B2C marketing. She studied at freign universities – Upper Austria University of Applied Sciences (Steyr, Austria) and LAUREA University of Applied Sciences (Espoo, Finland).


Available in Open Access.
Article published in Transactions of the Institute of Aviation No 227/2012
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