5 Social Media Mistakes That Top PR Pros Always Avoid

oversharingPR professionals need to maintain long-lasting relationships with reporters and media outlets that matter to their clients. But with so much change on industry landscape—specifically, with reporters changing beats and careers—developing and sustaining those relationships is a serious challenge.

Social media has given PR professionals a great tool for engaging the media, making networking less self-assertive and tedious. But with new tools come new sets of problems, and social media is no exception. PR pros need to figure out how best to manage their social personas closely or risk repelling the reporters and media outlets they want and need to interact with.

Providing tips on how best build that social persona is useful, but sometimes it's more valuable (and interesting) to talk about things you absolutely should never do.

Here are some online habits that top PR pros should avoid, courtesy of Vivian Hood, managing director client services at Jaffe PR and contributor to PR News' Media Relations Guidebook:

  • Auto-retweeting content. You will eventually retweet something horrible and have your own PR crisis on your hands. Read everything you share before you share it.
  • Heated debates. You cannot entirely delete something once it is posted—ever. And, even if you do immediately delete whatever you posted in the heat of the moment, you can be pretty certain that your desire for the item to disappear is directly proportional to the likelihood that multiple screenshots exist.
  • “Friending” reporters. Unless you grew up with said reporter, do not friend him or her on Facebook or your platform of choice for sharing personal details. Otherwise, do not feel hurt or surprised if your “private” news becomes the news.
  • Sharing too much information. Do not tweet, blog or post about personal relationships or money issues unless you have a firm grasp of privacy controls on the platform in question and use them.
  • Taking a controversial political or religious stand on your professional page. Everyone is entitled to their beliefs, of course, but “everyone” includes potential clients and reporters who may or may not agree with you and may or may not want anything to do with you as a result. Feeling strongly about something is one thing; putting it out there for judgment is another.

Follow Brian Greene: @bwilliamgreene