Instagram’s 300 Million Users and Crisis Management

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    What are the implications for crisis management as social networks beat out Twitter for most active users?

    Photo-sharing service Instagram announced this week that it had officially bypassed Twitter to take the title of “most active users”. Boasting more than 300 million monthly active users who share more than 70 million photos and videos each day, the network has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 2010.

    Staying on top of the most popular networks being used by stakeholder groups is a must for crisis management, and after seeing this announcement we asked ourselves a question organizations all around the world should be asking themselves as well – what are the implications of Instagram’s popularity as far as coping with crises goes?

    What we believe is that, in its current form, Instagram is best used for rebuilding after crises. Messaging hubs like blogs and websites are more effective for delivering multiple types of content, as well as for redirecting stakeholders who are seeking information from various social networks to a place you control, where you can share your story in a complete manner. Once the communication is out there, though, you still have to actually FIX the issue, and that’s where Instagram comes in. Imagine if BP had immediately sent out cleaning crews to affected areas after its massive oil spill, and every crew had a dedicated Instagrammer posting pictures of the cleanup in action. Suddenly, pictures are being shared, positive sentiment is generated, and the organization responsible for an incident that left many upset and angry is shown to walking their talk with undeniable images.

    Of course, this is just one possibility, and we’d like to challenge to our readers to come up with their own ways to use Instagram for crisis management. Leave a comment here or email and we’ll feature your ideas in a future post!

    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management

    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., an international crisis management consultancy, author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is Social Media Manager for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]

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