A new study shows that posting to Facebook during a time of crisis can help improve an organization's overall image.
Researchers at the University of Missouri School of Journalism created two fictional universities and gave study participants news stories about crises occurring at each. After the participants read the stories, the researchers measured participants' attitudes toward each institution, as well as their perceptions of the severity of each crisis. Then participants were shown Facebook posts from the universities' main Facebook accounts that delivered additional information and messages directly from the universities. Researchers tested attitudes once more.
After reading the Facebook posts, participants' attitudes were significantly more positive than they had been after reading the news stories alone. Participants also thought the crises were less severe following the Facebook posts.
Study author Seoyeon Hong said: "Many studies have already shown how important crisis management is for organizations. This study shows that Facebook can be a valuable tool for public relations professionals when working to solve or lessen the severity of a crisis. Because Facebook is very personal for its users, well-thought-out crisis management messages can be effective at reaching users on a personal level, which is a powerful way to persuade people to a cause."
We'd like to know what you think. Would reading about a crisis from an organization's Facebook account improve your perception? Or have you ever used social media to help communicate during a crisis?
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