Companies are slowly stating to realize that traditional media is not the only way to respond during a crisis. When an unexpected disaster strikes the company should have a social media strategy ready to be put in place. When a customer has a bad experience they will take their frustrations out online in hopes of being recognized by the company doing them wrong or to warn their friends and family. Either way companies are more likely to be exposed when something goes wrong.
A great example of social media being part of a crisis management plan is Toronto Hydro during the #IceStormTO or #DarkTO. When the city lost power almost a week before Christmas due to an #IceStorm, social media was used to keep everyone connected. Since households did not have power to watch the news, mobile devices were handy to staying up-to- date. I for one followed @TorontoHydro and shared their messages with my family. I noticed that their Twitter Account was being managed all day and all night. They were giving advice on what number to call, fridge tips, warming centers, how there were planning on restoring power and updates on what areas the crews were working on. Even though Toronto losing power was not directly their fault, they still had their crisis hat on and also making light of the situation while being serious. They were using hashtags, connecting with people, sharing photos and using other types of media to provide and share information.
It was great to know that TorontoHydro was bringing in workers from outside the city, giving everyone press conference updates and tips on what not to eat in your fridge. TorontoHydro would tweet about a phone line to call about service, what to do if you have power so teams know your house has power. All these tweets kept you confident that people are working as hard and fast as they can to restore power. Even when most of the city had their power restored TorontoHydro was still tweeting, it didn’t stop. It was clear they had a strategy in place to keep everyone informed on the progress.