This brings up another interesting topic – crisis communications plans. Some, but not enough, companies are working social media strategies and techniques into their crisis comms plans. It’s a smart move, as evident by this news, since buzz these days is spreading much, much faster than even a year ago due to online sources. Companies have to know what is being said about them so they can respond quickly. But more importantly, they should to be the first to pass news on to their various publics. They should know by now how quickly news will hit various online modes of communication such as Twitter, blogs, and Flickr, so they need processes to help them quickly give news and updates about their crises. You can alleviate a problem much more quickly by being transparent about it and initiating conversation.
I wonder if US Airways’ crisis comms plan included social media communications. Obviously companies can’t just rely on online forms of communications for crises, it’s important to be balanced; but with the increasing popularity of social media communication in our culture, its strategies should be given a place in a crisis comms plan.