When a company begins planning their strategy for social marketing, one of the first emotions we deal with is fear.
This is in no small part due to the fear mongering that is rife in the social space; much of it stirred up by ‘experts’ who want to scare you into thinking you are taking huge risks without their help.
Everything your company has worked for can be destroyed by a social media PR fiasco.
I have yet to find one case of a company truly being ‘brought to its knees’ by a social media dust up; the fact is that sales have not been dramatically reduced in the long term by a single infamous Social Media black eye.
I CAN find case after case of companies blowing what was a small PR snafu into a viral mess by missteps they make in handling the initial problem.
I CAN find a myriad of examples of companies not responding to customer complaints on the social platforms.
Planning is Necessary
In my world view, you can’t have Marketing without PR, and to try to segment or silo these two components is not sensible. Marketing is PR. Every interaction you have with your potential customers is PR.
It only makes sense then that PR is an essential component of your social marketing strategy.
Part of that strategy is developing a strong social media team that included individuals with PR and/or customer service experience. A plan must be developed for what your company will do when and if you find yourself in the cross hairs of an irate customer or group of people.
As Andrew Jenkins asked on Tuesday: Who answers the red telephone?
What happens when the PR issue is caused, accidentally or intentionally, by an employee? Who and how will you react?
Good PR Includes Good Planning
The most ‘frightening’ thing about social media for many is the pure spontaneity of it. They become plagued down by the ‘what ifs?’ The illusion that a brand had control over their image is torn down in the social space.
That fear of what might happen is not the reason to be in, or stay out of the social conversation.
That fear should be the motivation to plan out your PR Crises strategy, and to have a group of employees dedicated to not only managing, but continually training by watching the good and the bad reactions to the pr issues that arise almost daily in Social Media.
The fear of what might be said about you is not a good reason to be IN the Social Conversation. Worrying about bad PR, and being motivated to be able to respond is not a good reason, on its own, to have a social presence.
The real reason(s) to have a strong social presence go far beyond PR Self Defense.
By planning and implementing smart PR policies into your strategy, the social place transitions from a scary, unmanageable to something incredibly powerful and positive. Social Media is a platform for you to tell your brand stories.
Social Media is a network you can listen to, and glean valuable information about your company, your competitors, your industry, and so much more.
Let go of the fear; embrace the opportunity.