Tuesday, March 31, 2009, 12:29 PM

Innovis Health turns to social media in a crisis

All eyes this week have been on North Dakota and Minnesota, where residents have battled flood waters as high as 42 feet along the Red River. Innovis Health, a community health center serving both states, embraced some creative tools during the crisis to communicate with those in need. Innovis created a blog and utilized popular social networking tools like Twitter to keep the public up to date on its services, staff levels, and other critical information. Read about it here.

Innovis Health's efforts reinforce two important lessons :

1. Every organization should develop a crisis communications plan before the crisis occurs. Deliberating over how best to communicate after a crisis emerges is no recipe for success.

2. Social networking is an important tool for communicating with the public instantaneously. In the midst of a crisis like the one facing North Dakota and Minnesota residents, every second counts. Some may argue that direct communication with members of the press is most important in a crisis. Perhaps, but most traditional news outlets not only follow organizations on Twitter and corporate blogs these days - they also use them. The Innovis Health case study should prompt every leader to ask tough questions about how their organization will communicate with its stakeholders in a crisis.

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