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When Crisis Knocks: Being PR Savvy Through Social Media

Social media has been a game changer for PR folks across the board. No matter what type of business or industry you are in, no matter what size of organization you are in, social media means you can run for a minute but you sure cannot hide.

I hear and read often that companies can’t control their story. That’s only true if they let it out of control in the first place. Sometimes it gets out without anyone doing anything; an explosion or fire would be this type of crisis. The media is relentless when it comes to a crisis and a company has to be ready to be totally “bombarded” and handle all inquiries. A very tough skin is needed for this, as dealing with a heady crisis and doing good PR is not for the weak or inexperienced.

Corporations with big news to tell (good and bad) need to understand the key points below:
  • The art of being proactive means always anticipating what can happen: When crisis comes— often by surprise—you must immediately be ready to anticipate what will happen next. I cannot stress enough the importance of having a crisis PR/communications plan ALREADY WRITTEN before something happens.
  • The discipline and intelligence to use confidentiality, non-disclosure agreements: I hate to say “duh”, but I said it. Companies and organizations that can’t keep information from leaking out deserve what they get. And I would fire any communications staffer immediately if I found out they talked about highly confidential information. Rumors cannot exist if you want good PR results.
  • Telling a story well through both traditional and social: I think social media has given us the transparency we need to find real, truthful information and has forced companies and organizations to be more diligent about being truthful. My Dad always told me that if you tell the truth all the time, you never have to worry about telling a story—a powerful lesson. Social media gives us great channels to be truthful and to be transparent.
 
Social media has changed PR in many positive ways and I think that the positives far outweigh the negatives. All of this is why companies need to already be “in” the game of social. Establish your footprint and tell your story so that when you have to defend yourself in a crisis—you can. As my good friend and social media consultant @GlenGilmore says, “Build your Tribe before you need it.” And believe me, one day you will need it.

-- Amy Howell
Posted: 5/29/2012 2:49:23 PM | with 0 comments
Filed under: big, business, chamber, consultant, coporations, crisis, engagement, ideas, marketing, media, memphis, pr, public, relations, small, social




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