Make Sure You Do Not Cause the Next Social Media PR Disaster
• The power of social media in having both a positive and negative influence cannot be underestimated.• The opportunities for growth and engagement are enormous but equally so are the risks involved if the tools are utilised incorrectly.• The sudden and exponential uptake and growth of social media across all aspects of business let to many organisations taking up the mantle with little or no experience or knowledge of how to use it• Whilst the tone and setting of a social site may be more casual and informal that does not mean it is free from the standard practices of communication with the general public.• Any and all messages sent over social media are a reflection of the corporation as a whole. Therefore social media should be treated no differently in terms of quality and professionalism as would a normal press release.• Unfortunately many of the newest players to the social media world are naïve and inexperienced in regards to the subtleties of the social world leading to some of the notorious PR disasters of recent months.• There are many painful and public lessons to be had for brands when it comes to Consumer PR.• Fortunately there are a number of simple steps you can take to ensure that your organisation is not next in line for a public PR disaster.
• One of the most important things to decide early in the social process is who is going to be in charge of what.• Everyone in the office having access is not a good idea.• Stick to just one person or a small team to ensure clear and consistent messaging as well as avoiding repetition, spamming and other potential mishaps regarding confusion over who posted what and where.• Should anything go wrong it also far easier to track down what happened for accountability.
• To this end you need to make sure those using the channels are properly trained and educated.• Not only will this ensure they follow a clear social media strategy buy also that they are aware of the social etiquettes and expectations which come with each site.• Even when it comes to informal and casual interaction via Facebook or Twitter a level of professional decorum must be present as a corporate business account requires a very different approach than a personal profile.
• Your staff may know the social universe inside out (as do many young people) but that does not mean they are experts nor that they are mature or responsible enough to manage the social profiles of a major corporation.• In order to avoid any less than tasteful or inappropriate social activity establish a clear code of conduct containing simple guidelines outlining exactly what is and is not acceptable when it comes to communicating through social media.
• A final possibility is introducing a filtering process.• Whilst time consuming and potentially limiting creatively it will always ensure that what messages go out of your organisation are in line with the image the company wishes to convey.• There is a fine line between maintaining a level of professionalism and showcasing a more social and human side of the company.• Robotic and automated adverts disguised as messages could do just as much damage.