Communicating in a Social Media World

How to Stop Saying Um – and Gain Instant Credibility
September 21, 2018
How to Stop Saying Um – and Gain Instant Credibility
September 21, 2018

Social media has reached critical mass.

It's been a year since hurricanes Harvey and Irma became the first "social media storms" where digital channels played a key role in emergency communications.

Still, these online tools remain a bit scary for many people. Their fear is losing control over the message.

Yet an even greater risk is posed by not using social media at all. If we don't tell our story, others who are using these digital platforms will tell it for us.

Social media offers more speed, engagement and reach than most other communications tools. Using all these methods at various times allows you to connect with your audiences in their preferred ways.

The key is to monitor the conversation and get involved, set the record straight when you can, and stay in the game for the long-term.

One way to keep a little more control is to have your social media platforms set up and an audience established BEFORE you actually need them.


Here are some guidelines for using social media, based on successful examples in the water industry:

  • Be clear about your communications goals
    During Hurricane Irma, Florida Gov. Scott explained how storm shelters and evacuation routes could be found online, as seen here.
  • Understand how social media helps you achieve those goals
    During Hurricane Harvey, the Harris County Flood Control District used Twitter in real time to explain to residents what was going on. Here is a snapshot.
  • Select the right platform for your purpose
    Facebook enables conversation and engagement. Twitter delivers real-time news instantly. YouTube and Instagram offer the emotional impact of images.
  • Commit to social media
    Social media is here to stay. If you start, continue with your efforts or hire a professional to help you.
  • Monitor the conversation
    The U.S. Coast Guard has said it monitors social media during crisis situations, as part of regular operations, though not as part of emergency response.

Social media is not without flaws - rumors and distortions often spread faster than truth.

Still, the bottom line is that social media is no longer a nice to have - it's now a need to have.

Next month - how to stop saying "uhm" ...

If you would like to talk about how to communicate more effectively, please call or text me at 512.797.9925 or email me at