Tweet Your Way through Your Next Crisis? Social Media and Crisis Communications

Now that 66% of all adults use one or more social media platforms, it is no longer a matter of whether an organization should utilize social media to communicate with audiences, but how and with what platforms. Social media is rapidly becoming such an integral part of business operations that its use is now commonplace for essential product launches, developing consumer loyalty and sharing organizational news.   Citizen journalists use social media to provide instantaneous information to their followers and the general public, often hours ahead of traditional media. A recent survey by the American Red Cross found that social media sites are the fourth most popular sites for obtaining information during an emergency.

The use of social media to deliver crisis communications messages by organizations is a natural offshoot of all of the above, presenting SH&E professionals with the opportunity to add value to their organization by developing expertise in combining essential crisis communication message concepts with the appropriate social media platforms. Helping to navigate the available types and uses of social media and develop a Social Media Policy provide initial opportunities to participate in the direction of an organization's use of social media, while helping to craft messages are additional value-added skills.

This presentation will start by identifying essential crisis communication concepts that are true regardless of the platform or setting and then utilize those concepts to elaborate how to tweak the messages to fit conventional (and unconventional) social media.  These include addressing audience emotions; providing information that is both timely and frequent; and being willing to admit uncertainty, all of which fit nicely into the framework of most social media platforms.

Additional information presented will cover various research and studies that have been reported thus far on the use of social media by organizations in a crisis and the essential components of a Social Media Policy. The final part of the session will focus discussion on essential do's and don'ts for using social media in a crisis along with some lessons learned by organizations in some recent crisis events.

Learning Objectives: 

Following the conclusion of this session:
  • Participants will develop an understanding of the traditional concepts of effective crisis communications.
  • Participants will be able to define the various types of social media platforms currently in use including blogs and micro blogs; social networking; and social bookmarking. For each type they will be able to further describe the possible uses by organizations in general as well as during a crisis event.
  • By examining case studies, participants will understand how social media has been used to date to communicate with audiences, both in crisis and non-crisis situations.
  • Participants will be able to define the critical components of an organizational Social Media Policy and understand how to assist their organizations in crafting one.
  • Participants will be able to use all of the above information to provide advice and counsel on how to incorporate the use of social media into their organization's Crisis Communications Plan.


  • Webcast with 30 day access to archived recording for ANYTIME/ANYWHERE viewing
  • Slides from the session
  • 0.2 CEUs

Webinar Pricing

  • Member Price $95.00
  • AIHA/ACHMM $105.00 (PLEASE NOTE: When registering online, you must enter the following coupon code for a $10.00 discount: AIHA1911 You may register online as a "Non-Member" and enter this coupon code into the field for "Registration Discount Code.")
  • List Price $115.00

Speaker Information 

Pam Walaski is the President of JC Safety & Environmental, Inc., a health and safety consulting firm with an office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her company specializes in a broad array of safety compliance and consulting services, including safety management systems audits; safety program evaluation and development; and training.  Walaski holds the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) designation from the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP), and a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM) designation from the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management (IHMM).

She is a Professional Member of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), currently serving as the Administrator of the Society's Consultants Practice Specialty; and is a Member of the Society's Nominations and Elections Committee. Walaski is also a Full Member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), and a Master's Level Member of the Alliance of Hazardous Materials Management (AHMP).

Walaski's book, Risk and Crisis Communications: Methods and Messages was published by John Wiley & Sons in August 2011. Her article on social media and crisis communications was published in Professional Safety in May 2013. In addition, she has published numerous articles in The Synergist; The Advisor; EH&S Today; Safety + Health and is a Section Coordinator for The Safety Professionals Handbook, published by ASSE in June 2008. 

Walaski presents regularly at national level conferences, company safety meetings and insurance seminars. Some of her recent presentations have been at the Indiana Governor's Safety and Health Conference in March 2013, and the ASSE PDC in Las Vegas in June 2013. She was the co-leader of the ASSE Safety Professionals Delegation to China in November 2010.

Walaski also provides numerous audioconferences and webinars for major organizations on topics such as Risk and Crisis Communications, Contractor Safety, Near Miss Reporting and Safety Committee Development.  Most recently she has presented for Progressive Business Publications, BLR, and Briefings Media Group.

She is a member of the Indiana University Pennsylvania Safety Sciences Advisory Board and a Safety Consultant for Bongarde Media. In June 2011 Walaski was the recipient of the ASSE President's Award, and the ASSE WISE 100 Women of Safety. She also received second place from the editors of Professional Safety for her article on risk and crisis communications, published by PS in June 2010.

Select a Webinar Format:

Sorry... No formats avaiable to order at this time. Live session registrations ended at July 24, 2013 at 12:00 PM EDT, and there are no archived versions available yet. Please check back in a few days to order the archived session.