With the arrival of social media in recent years, the idea of public relations has drastically changed. In the past, PR firms could rely on fellow constituents to implement damage control in the event of a crisis. Cleaning up a client or company’s image could take days or weeks; they had the luxury of time. In today’s image driven social media market, however, time has shrunk. In fact, it’s about anticipating response before the Facebook and Twitter feeds kick in. While gut instinct is still applicable, there are proven ways to monitor and control PR as it relates to social media. You must understand the new rules to stay ahead of the game. The definition of public relations has changed.
Public relations can literally make or break any client or company. While all commercial entities strive for spotless online reputations, there are times when issues arise. These problems can stem from internal sources, along with industry mishaps and even common mistakes. Without proper PR management, these obstacles can leave a lasting negative impression for years to come. According to media experts, you must be careful when tweeting about your clients. In fact, if you can’t shed a positive light on any situation, I would recommend that you simply refrain from posting. Remember what your Mom said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say…” Also, never promote anything at the expense of another client or company’s failure. This is considered “cheap” and tactically low on the social media totem pole.
To secure positive PR results remember to:
- Understand the new rules of PR and social media engagement. This will help you stay ahead of the curve.
- Be aware of the current news client. If you are posting about your company’s new Michelin tire sale, be sure that there have not been any tragic accidents that name the brand you are promoting on Facebook or Twitter.
- While time is of the essence, do not respond immediately if a crisis erupts. In stead, anticipate damage control while you effectively analyze and assess the situation. Once a plan of action is formulated, simply implement it as professional as possible.
- Be transparent. Even in a negative situation, your honesty will be appreciated and respected in the social media sector.
- Post meaningful and respectful comments. Refrain from negative posts that can easily backfire on you, along with the client, company, or firm you represent. There is a famous story of an executive that wrote negatively about the home city of a client (that would be FedEx and Memphis) on his Twitter feed while he was traveling to meet the client. He was fired the next day.
- Use common sense and common courtesy. Never engage in “online wars” with those you disagree with. Simply be the bigger person.
- When disagreeing with others or certain posts, keep it civil and appropriate. By being polite, you can secure a true sense of professionalism