Effective crisis management requires using social media well. Social media isn’t an emergency envelope you tear open when crisis strikes. It takes time to foster the engagement that makes social media effective in a crisis. Build an engaging social media presence now and you will be building loyal followers that will help you navigate a crisis.

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Loyalty models can be the golden ticket to mitigating a crisis quicker and with less financial loss. Your crisis plan can have every contingency covered, but a loyal fan base gives you an extra advantage.  Research from Weber Shandwick (2011 Forbes Insight) found that global executives attribute 52% of their brand’s reputation to how social their brands are. They projected that in three years, 65% of their brand’s reputation will come from its online engagement.

The CFI Group, a customer feedback management company, recently released data showing that “social media can help blunt the impact of negative word-of-mouth.”

Loyalty models are built with content designed specifically for that model. The three loyalty models are: Conversation Building, Feedback/Crowdsourcing, and Value-Adding. Which loyalty model should you use? It depends on your social media goals and your resources. You can use more than one, but some combination of these is required to build the social capital that strengthens your loyalty shield for a crisis.

In the coming weeks, I'll be writing about the various loyalty models, and we'll take a look at some case studies that will get your creative juices flowing. We'll see how you can go beyond simple broadcast and reach strategies to a social media model that can help you build a corps of invested advocates. What are your thoughts on building advocacy in social media?