Flexible Social Media: 9 Tips to Get You Through Good Times and Crises

You can’t hear this enough: Social media is essential to the success of public relations campaigns for any brand. No business objective should be created without the inclusion of a social media plan and, for PR pros, it’s must be a part of the daily routine.

Understanding and deploying social media efforts can bolster your day-to-day PR efforts and bail you out when a crisis comes along. A real key to an effective social media campaign knowing which platforms are most effective for delivering your company's unique message.

“The average Fortune 500 company now has over 11 Twitter accounts—meaning that one size doesn't fit all, said Dallas Lawrence, chief global digital strategy for Burson-Marsteller. 

It takes an effective manager to juggle the task of making social media a priority while designating responsibility to staff members.

Lawrence, a featured speaker at PR News’ Social Media Measurement Conference on Oct. 2 in New York, offers the following 9 tips for PR Pros who are responsible for their team's social media efforts, in good times and bad:

  • Know & Engage Key Drivers Early & Often. 46% of journalists use Twitter for sources. They're going there to see who is already talking about a subject in a credible and established way. They see Twitter as their resource Bible.
  • Develop Clear and Effective Platform Appropriate Messaging. If you've got a story about you that's erupting in video, is a press release the why to respond to that? Probably not. 
  • Own Your Brand in Social Media…Before Someone Else Does. Pinterest is still something we’re not thinking about in a reputation management perspective even though it’s off the charts.Only a third of the top 100 companies have registered their brands on Pinterest, however.
  • People, Not Logos. During a crisis, people want to hear from people, not logos. Figure out right now whom the person is going to be communicating for you in a crisis.
  • Integration Is Key. Twitter is the best platform for sharing out other content through, said Lawrence. Tweets with YouTube links are two times more likely to be retweeted, and tweets that are 80-100 characters are also significantly more likely to be more retweeted.
  • Be Sure You Know What You're Talking About: What’s going against you in the time of a crisis: rush to say something, what are we going to say. We also have to be able to tell clients when it’s not a crisis. Sometimes it’s not a PR problem; sometimes it’s just a problem.
  • When You Blow It, Own Up to It Quickly. There is an amazing willingness to forgive if you just ask for it.
  • Integrate Paid and Earned. “Paid” is not a dirty word. It’s a great way to reach people in a crisis, and promoted tweets can reach the audience you need to reach.
  • Make Some Lemonade. There is a point in every crisis when you're past the 'oh s**t' moment and still have the media world in your backyard— that's your opportunity to grab that spotlight and show what you're going to do next. Three out of every four posts from customers contain potentially actionable product improvement insights. LL Bean did this with a line of their sheets. LL Bean listened to social and saw that there was an uptick in chatter about its sheets, so the company went back to the shelves and saw there was a manufacturing error, which it was able to correct their mistake faster than usual.

Attend PR News' Social Media Measurement Conference on Oct. 2 in NYC and learn more from social media experts like Dallas Lawrence.

Follow Jamar Hudson: @jamarhudson 

  • Tressa Robbins

    Great post, Jamar. “When you blow it, own up to it quickly” has to be the single best advice to anyone using social media–whether on behalf of their clients or themselves!

  • Bart Verhulst

    Nice post! Concerning pint 2; Develop Clear and Effective Platform Appropriate Messaging.
    I’d like to think that an online newsroom is an absolute key.

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