Public school teachers in Chicago officially went on strike Monday for the first time in 25 years after the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) was unable to come to an agreement with the city. As with any crisis of this magnitude, social media provides ample opportunity for those affected by the strike to vent their frustrations and/or voice their support for one side of the dispute.
The strike has already generated a huge amount of social media traffic with references to the CTU and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) already numbering 65,000 mentions in the past 24 hours across all social media platforms, with Twitter currently accounting for just under 80% of the traffic.
Using Salesforce Radian6 Insights to look at the top hashtags being used in conjunction with CTU strike conversations, we can get a bit of a feel for what circles are driving the most chatter and taking the most interest in the story.
The #TCOT hashtag (Top Conservatives on Twitter) factors heavily within this data, giving an indication that the issue has become a hot topic amongst politically conservative Twitter users. Drilling specifically into the #TCOT hashtag, we see that, indeed, many conservatives have taken a strong interest in the strike.
Looking deeper at the hashtags, it’s worth noting that both #faircontractnow and #P2 (the liberal equivalent of #TCOT) are in the top ten as well, and offer plenty of support for the teachers union.
Another way to understand where support lies during a dispute for an issue on social media is by taking a look at sentiment. As an example, let’s look at sentiment surrounding both Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as well as CTU President Karen Lewis.
Emanuel is mentioned in almost 1,700 posts with 93% of them classed as negative.
Lewis isn’t faring any better. She accounts for 926 mentions with negative sentiment at 94.6%.
- When a crisis hits, it’s essential to find out how and where people are discussing your organization. Find out what language or hashtags are being used around your topic. Some might not be obvious; for example, the “#faircontractnow” tag is less obvious than the more blatantly relevant #CPS or #CTU tags in this scenario. This offers you a chance to push YOUR message into those corners of the conversation and rally your potential supporters.
- Looking at overall topic sentiment may not be enough. Take advantage of the ability to look at sentiment surrounding specific names (such as your President or CEO) rather than only the broad topic at hand. In our example above, both leaders generated the same amount of negative sentiment, but that may not always be the case. Clear winners can and will emerge in the court of public opinion.
- Be sure to look at sentiment trends over an extended period of time whenever possible. Are posts surrounding your CEO typically negative? Or is the negative sentiment related to your hypothetical crisis? This will help you decide how the latest news is affecting your brand/name.
When a crisis hits, it’s important to have a social media response plan ready, including a strong social media monitoring component. For more information on managing a crisis with social media, check out our ebook, All-Star Social Media Crisis Response for Brands.