GroundFloor Media & CenterTable Blog

Authenticity rules when it comes to crisis communication, particularly online.

I just wrapped up the second day of a reputation and crisis communication conference in New York City. Here are some great social media lessons from Southwest Airlines’ Linda Rutherford, vice president of communication and strategic outreach.

Southwest leads not only the airline industry, but the corporate world for setting the standard in social media engagement. They are acutely aware that bad news about their company will break on Twitter, as it did when part of a Southwest plane’s ceiling came off. Photos were being shared on TwitPic before the plane even landed.

Southwest’s social media engagement plan includes the following points:

Don’t be afraid to join the conversation
Make it personal and authentic
Engage in the positive
Have a contingency plan BEFORE a crisis arises
Establish channels before a crisis
Don’t rely on numbers alone
Educate your employees and leaders about the value of social media
Live and breathe social media
Have fun- this in not a burden, it is a gift.

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