A number of companies that provide emergency notification solutions for higher ed institutions participated in a Q&A on the subject of incorporating social media strategies during an emergency.
When integrating emergency notification systems with social media strategy, what specific part of the process do many colleges struggle with the most—and what would higher ed leaders need to learn to be more successful?
“Some organizations wait too long to send a message over social media, often sending a message long after the incident is over. Having a well-practiced communication plan with clear guidelines can help get those first messages out the door to keep people informed as the situation progresses.” —Pat Scheckel, executive vice president of product management, Singlewire Software
“Generating a following in order to make social media effective communications channels is challenging. Organizations must dedicate time and energy into providing timely and engaging posts, even in the absence of actual incidents, to do so. Connecting with followers in a genuine and responsive manner, and incorporating appropriate humor, are several tactics that some of the more effective organizations employ.” —Noah Reiter, senior vice president of customer success, Rave Mobile Safety
“Higher education leaders should ensure any potential threats are verified before communicating more broadly or sending notifications to students and faculty. By establishing processes between campus security and communications teams to monitor student’s social networks and engage only when necessary, campuses can prevent the spread of inaccurate information.” —Julie Brown, institutional market leader, Johnson Controls
“In today’s world of rapid communication, if the truth is not actively pushed to all respective channels available, others less informed will fill the void with their own interpretation and often misinformation. Without an authority driving the conversation, information can quickly become erroneous and even dangerous. If you don’t control the message, one thousand others will.” — Dave Baeder, Center of Excellence, Siemens Smart Infrastructure USA