What happens when third parties other than company representatives or experts are reporting your crisis right along with you? Unreliable and untrained resources can muddle the message, as we saw with the Boston bombing.
"People and brands are using more and more tools: Twitter, Facebook, blogs, Instagram, G+, YouTube, etc.," says Frédéric Montagnon, co-founder of OverBlog. "As a consequence, important content is flooded and fragmented on a lot of different platforms."
Enter OverBlog. This European-born platform came to the U.S. last year when its co-founders moved to New York to launch its completely revamped version. Montagnon and his fellow software engineer co-founders gave OverBlog a facelift a few years ago. This included bulking it up with social incoming streams. It started out in 2004 as a content destination and blogging platform. The fact that it is "the perfect tool to select and enrich key information," says Montagnon, is what gives its new curation versus aggregation structure.
"Curation is important when you want to give clear and easy-to-understand information," he explains. "When a crisis happens, content production is high, and information overload makes it difficult to understand."
So what does it look like with OverBlog as your destination page during a crisis? The best of your updates across all of your social media would be in one place. Sounds too easy to be true, right?
"We decided to create a publishing tool as simple as webmail because it simply was not possible for our mothers to share what they know 10 years ago," Montagnon says. "It was too complicated, and you needed to have tech knowledge most of the people didn't have." With this in mind, OverBlog is fully customizable using a mix of simple interface and advanced HTML.
Once you have an OverBlog set up to serve in your crisis management plan, you can organize reliable and trained resources for your company, including up to three social-savvy employees for each of your brand's networks. Assign an administrator of your OverBlog to direct the employees as the crisis strategy develops. The administrator can also invite trusted consumers, clients, experts or law enforcement to contribute to this content destination from any social channel they choose. All synched users can just tweet and post with an official hashtag. OverBlog does the rest, updating itself with only the important information. Post-crisis, you'll have centralized details for future reference, including analytics.
You can imagine the other ways to use OverBlog. Montagnon points out, "People gather all the posts about a specific product or topic (Juliette Longuet), as a global search engine for all their stuff (Robert Scoble), to have a clean and branded place to show all their content (Merrybubbles) and as a main publishing tool." Here's OverBlog in action for a large-scale event.
OverBlog is available on iPhone/iPod/iPad and Android and optimized for all. "Revenue share, which has been part of our model in Europe since 2005, is one of the reasons for OverBlog's success," according to Montagnon. "It's coming to the U.S. early in August."
Social Startups is a weekly Social Media Today column written by Shay Moser about the newest and most innovative social companies. Look for the next installment next Wednesday morning. Logos by Jesse Wells.