#myNYPD Campaign Draws the Wrong Kind of Twitter Engagement


Image: nydailynews.com

Image: nydailynews.com

The New York Police Department’s public relations efforts suffered a major setback yesterday after the department encouraged Twitter users to post photos of interactions with police officers along with the hashtag #myNYPD. The Twittersphere was quickly deluged with unflattering photos of officers fighting with Occupy Wall Street protestors, engaging in rough arrests and even shooting a dog.

The NYPD has been very active on social media in recent weeks, according to the New York Times. Commissioner William Bratton and five commanders on the force now regularly tweet as part of the effort. This latest campaign was just another extension of that. Some images of New Yorkers and tourists posing with smiling cops and officers on horseback did materialize, but the NYPD clearly lost control of the Twitter conversation.

#myNYPD became the top Twitter hashtag by the end of the day Tuesday, replacing #HappyEarthDay. Over 70,000 people posted negative comments, according to the Daily News.

The lesson for brands and organizations: Anytime you want to engage the public on social media, be aware of the disconnect between the story you tell each other internally about your brand (aka drinking the Kool-Aid) and the stories shared externally about your brand. Be aware that the internal perception of your organization will not necessarily match the public perception—that seemed to be the case with the NYPD. You need to promote your strengths while remaining aware of your weaknesses, or you run the risk of being embarrassed in a big way.

The NYPD emphasized that it will continue engaging the public on social media. Spokesman Stephen Davis told the New York Times, “You take the good with the bad.”

The NYPD learned a painful lesson in PR. Before engaging in any open campaign on social media that seeks to engage people on a wide scale, you must ask yourself some serious questions. What is the public perception of your organization? Is it positive or negative? Why? How do you plan to keep the conversation on point? What will your response be to negative commentary?

If you can’t answer these questions, then you may want to rethink your campaign.

Follow Richard Brownell: @RickBrownell




Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

avatar

About Richard Brownell

Richard Brownell is Content Manager, PR Events at PR News. He has several years' experience in developing and producing online events. Richard is a published author with several titles for young audiences to his credit. He has also written political commentary for several popular websites and his stage plays have been produced in New York and other major cities.



Deals of the Week

Get $150 Off PR News' PR Measurement Conference

 prnews-measurement-conf-175x135-static

Join us on November 20, 2014, for PR News’ essential PR Measurement Conference, taking place at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Commit now to grounding all of your PR efforts in metrics that connect to organizational goals and prove value that communications makes in thriving b2c and b2b companies, nonprofits and professional associations.

Use code “150off” at checkout.

Get $50 off PR News' Media Relations Guidebook


book-mediarelations-180x150

This 8-chapter resource contains practical implications for some of the most innovative developments in media relations, including the technologies, methodologies and mannerisms that determine the ecosystem in which PR pros practice this essential part of their craft.

Use code “50off” at checkout.

Save $100 on a PR News Subscription



Let PR News become your weekly, go-to resource for the latest PR trends, case studies and tip sheets. Topics covered include visual storytelling, social media, measurement, crisis management and media relations.

Use code “SUBDEAL” at checkout.