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How Chevron leverages social media in a crisis

How Chevron leverages social media in a crisis
(Image credit: Chevron's Harting (

“This space is constantly evolving and changing, and there’s always something new to learn,” says Olivia Harting, social media manager of corporate public affairs at Chevron. Working for an energy company like Chevron, Olivia has seen her fair share of crises — from refinery incidents, to detractors hijacking Twitter hashtags.

In her’s Brands-Only Summit presentation, Olivia explains how to prepare, what to do during, and how to learn from a crisis using social media. Here are a few ideas from her presentation:

  • Create a playbook. Olivia’s team created a social media crisis playbook with their agencies, PR team, and other key groups. It allowed their team to know what the expectations and guidelines are in the event of a crisis, and answer important questions like: What should be escalated? When and to whom?
  • Publish updates. Don’t go radio silent, show the community you’re listening. Olivia says that even if it’s generic messaging, tell your community that you are aware of the situation and you’re trying to make things right.
  • Redirect paid search. By using paid search to redirect to their owned sites, this allowed Olivia and her team to control the conversation. It also made their updates easier to find.
  • Learn from the experience. Olivia says it’s critical to take the time to capture areas of opportunity or gaps in your response. Make improvements to your process by updating your checklists, playbook, and process documents.

To find out more ideas about crisis management, watch Olivia’s full presentation video or check out her presentation deck.  


Andy Sernovitz builds organizations that help people help each other. His company, GasPedal, builds peer-to-peer communities for people leading meaningful change at the world’s biggest companies, including and Health. He wrote the best-selling book Word of Mouth Marketing that teaches you how to earn the respect and recommendation of your customers.