The Wrong Way — and the Right Way — to use Social Media in a Crisis.

The Wrong Way — and the Right Way — to use Social Media in a Crisis.

The Wrong Way to use Social Media in a Crisis

From The New York Times, 09/13/17:

“HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — The first patient was rushed into the emergency room of Memorial Regional Hospital around 3 a.m. on Wednesday, escaping a nursing home that had lost air-conditioning in the muggy days after Hurricane Irma splintered power lines across the state.

Four were so ill that they died soon after arriving. In the afternoon, the authorities learned that another had died early in the morning, and was initially uncounted because the person had been taken directly to a funeral home.

In all, eight were dead…

The 152-bed nursing home was acquired in 2015 by Larkin Community Hospital, a growing Miami-area network that includes hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities…

Dr. Jack Michel, the health-care network’s current chairman, did not respond to requests for comment.”

Instead, Michel went on Facebook where he wrote:

“@FLGovScott The best way to honor the memories of those who lost their lives in Hollywood Tragedy is identifying root causes and making sure this doesn’t happen again in FL, not finding scapegoats. Due process is a constitutional right.”

Since that September 18 post, 140 of Michel’s followers have posted likes and frowny face emoticons and some 30 or so sycophants have posted comments blaming the power company, politics, and the unfairness of pointing fingers. Virtually everyone’s been blamed, in fact, but the people responsible for the tragedy.

At best, Dr. Michel’s Facebook bleats make him and Larkin Community Hospital look insensitive and self-serving. And even though only one respondent has criticized his actions online so far, that response is inevitable.

Because as we’ve said so many times before, “When you’re explaining, you’re losing.”

The Right Way to use Social Media in a Crisis

Jim Fried is the senior vice president of Spectrum Mortgage Group, a company that provides commercial property financing. Fried uses his robust social media presence, plus his weekly radio program, Fried on Business, to promote himself and his company.

After the storm Fried posted a five-word message that said simply, “We Are Here to Help!”

Below the headline he wrote: “Hurricane Irma has brought us many challenges, from property damage to cash-flow issues. If you’re in need of cash right now, we can help you turn your real estate property into quick cash with a private loan. Even if your home or property has been damaged, we can lend based on the land value.

Call today! One person makes the decision. We can commit today and close next week.

Let us help you in this special situation.”

Positive, inclusive, and aspirational, Fried made his online post immediately relevant to his readers. He told them precisely what he can do to make their lives better. Then, after making his point, Fried followed up with the Reasons To Believe (RTBs) showing that their property has value, and that they can close on a loan quickly because only “one person makes the decision.”

Simple, direct, and to the point. Jim Fried understands the concepts behind an All About Them marketing strategy.

Defensive, insensitive, callous. Jack Michel clearly does not.

By | 2017-09-20T10:53:19+00:00 September 20th, 2017|6 Comments


  1. Frank September 20, 2017 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    At best, Dr. Michel’s Facebook bleats make he and Larkin Community Hospital look insensitive and self-serving.

    Poor English. I enjoy reading your posts, but it’s time for you to go back to high school and learn some basic English grammar. The paragraph above should read:

    At best, Dr. Michel’s Facebook bleats make ‘he’ (him) and Larkin Community Hospital look insensitive and self-serving.

    • Bruce Turkel September 20, 2017 at 4:36 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the correction, Frank. I’m glad you enjoy my posts and I appreciate you helping me make the blog better. Based on what you wrote, I should go back to study grammar and you should consider going to charm school.

  2. Gayle Carson September 20, 2017 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    I believe all of this is a reflection of how media and communication have influenced our thoughts and common sense. Before we were 24/7 people didn’t have the ability to make their thoughts known as easily. Now anyone can post whatever they want and don’t necessarily take the time to think things through. Maybe we need to include a course on “common sense” in our school curriculum so people get a chance to learn and practice it.

    • Bruce Turkel September 20, 2017 at 4:37 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Gayle. Clearly a lot of us need to take some classes to equip us to work with today’s technology!!

  3. David J. Hawes September 21, 2017 at 12:05 pm - Reply


    What a coincidence!

    I am also grammar challenged and was hoping Frank could recommend a source for a refresher course. Unfortunately, his incomplete name makes it hard.

    Thanks for another great lesson well written.

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