In the old days, when a company was planning layoffs, it delivered the bad news to employees, and then—if it was smart—issued a press release to let the world know how many people had been laid off and why.
These days, companies concerned about crisis management and joining the “bad news” conversation online will also post the announcement on their corporate blogs. An article in yesterday’s New York Times explained why companies must break the news first, before one of their employees or a competitor does.
Elon Musk, chief executive of the electric-car company Tesla Motors in San Carlos, Calif., said that he had no choice other than to blog about the Oct. 15 layoffs at the closely watched company — even though some employees had not yet been told they were losing their jobs.
Valleywag, a Silicon Valley gossip blog owned by Gawker Media, had already published the news, and it was being picked up by traditional media reporters, Mr. Musk said. “We had to say something to prevent articles being written that were not accurate.”
The article also mentions Twitter. In my Special Report #52: How to Use Twitter for Business, I mention that companies that don’t want to miss a beat, like Comcast and Dell, use that site to monitor their brand online and sometimes even announce bad news. Check out the cool tip from Brian Carter on how to search for your company’s name—or for anybody else you want to follow—now that Twitter apparently has disabled its search funciton. Simply use Search.Twitter.com.
By the way, have you created Google Alerts for your company’s name and URL so you know when somebody is discussing you online? I want Google to deliver my alerts via email once a day. But if you tell Google you want the information “as soon as it happens,” you can respond within minutes after someone has written about you.
What other ways does your company communicate bad news online, or respond who others who are talking about you?