Tackling Social Media Crisis Planning at First “Coffee and Conversations”

Two dozen public relations professionals on July 25 dived into several high profile social media crisis case studies at PRSA Rochester’s first “Coffee and Conversations” event. 

 “Coffee and Conversations” is a new breakfast series aimed at bringing together public relations professionals to exchange best practices and advice. 

Participants broke into small groups to dissect crisis situations that hit the New York and Boston police departments, General Motors and United Airlines. 

During the session, each small group was guided by an experienced moderator. Moderators included:
-Chip Partner, Assistant VP and Director of External Communications, University of Rochester Medical Center
-Ellen Rosen, Director of RIT University News Services, Rochester Institute of Technology
-Jeff Halik, Senior Director of Marketing and Business Development, The Bonadio Group
-Jon Alhart, VP of Content Marketing and Social Media, Dixon Schwabl
-Kate Torok, Director of Marketing and Communications, St. John Fisher College 

Attendees discussed the following questions:
-What did each organization do right or wrong?
-How will you prevent similar crises from impacting your organization?
- Is your organization prepared to quickly handle a social media crisis? If not, what should be done?

Moderators and participants also shared the ways in which they’ve handled certain crises. They emphasized the need to be quick and accurate while carefully selecting the right channel and approach to the response.

“What a great way to spend a Tuesday morning," said Brandie Cain, Senior Communications Associate, Hillside Family of Agencies. "I was able to network with local professionals to share ideas and experiences about dealing with a social media crisis. The mix of organizations in the room made the conversation interesting and engaging.  I will definitely be back for another event."