Crisis Communications Gets Simplified With Facebook

I previously worked at a PR firm where we had a number of clients who were in need of “dark sites.” For those of you that don’t know what a dark site is, it is simply a website which is set up but not linked to (and is typically protected from the public) so that a company can have a place to disseminate information to the public during a crisis. Then last night I read this interesting article about leveraging Facebook groups as a form of crisis communication. This is brilliant in my opinion. Imagine your company having a major catastrophe such as having a rat running through your fast food chain in a busy store in New York City. A video leaks on to the internet and suddenly you are stuck trying to clean up this negative buzz. This recently happened and the result was to get creative in releasing videos and other forms of media expressing that the store was permanently shut down and reiterating the company’s dedication to sanitation. A useful tool for these situations is Facebook groups. Other people will create groups about how they will never return to your restaurant and you will need to have an effective way of connecting with your constituents. Lee Aase suggests that companies create “secret” groups and invite their constituents for that moment when things go wrong. They can then easily send a message to all their constituents using the group mesaging feature. While this is a debatable tool, I can see some sort of use for it. What do you think?