PR: An Essential Component of Your Social Media Strategy

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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.

The Myth

Everything your company has worked for can be destroyed by a social media PR fiasco.

The Reality

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.

0 thoughts on “PR: An Essential Component of Your Social Media Strategy

  1. ArCIntel says:

    “@AmyMccTobin: Here’s what I think–> PR: An Essential Component of Your Social Media Strategy

  2. Frank_Strong says:

    Good point Amy, there’s always a lot of chatter about social media crisis killing a company and yet the reality is a far cry.  Just like the mantra that those companies that don’t adopt social media will be out of business in five years.  However, the truth I think is somewhat gray — over time, repeated crisis, poor interaction and an inability or indifference to solving customer issues will harm a brand.  Who wants to do business with a lousy company?  It works the other way too:  social isn’t a panacea.  It’s a lot of hard work to see value.  Viral wonders don’t happen everyday.

    • AmyMccTobin says:

      Frank_Strong Absolutely Fran – over time lots and lots of bad customer service can harm you… but look at Verizon – it’s still in business 🙂

      • Frank_Strong says:

        AmyMccTobin Yes, but look at the alternatives!  None of them are good. Competition is weak.  What this tells us is just how many different factors — including those that have little to do with marketing or service — are considered in the “brand algorithm,” or so to speak.

  3. hessiejones says:

    @RTRViews @ArcIntel It’s nice that people realize that PR and Marketing belong together.

    • RTRViews says:

      @hessiejones @ArCIntel Any silos are bad for an organization. That they still exist between PR & mktg is unreal.

      • ArCIntel says:

        @RTRViews agree! Unfortunately, there are still traditional mindsets that haven’t seen the impacts of conversation @hessiejones

      • DannyBrown says:

        @RTRViews Any silos that existe between teams whose end goal is one and the same is pure stupidity @hessiejones @ArCIntel

        • hessiejones says:

          @DannyBrown @RTRViews @ArCIntel Territories within countries, silos within companies. Brothers fighting for the same girl! It’s everywhere:(

  4. heystephanie says:

    @DannyBrown @ArcIntel I liked the term, “Social media black eye.” Clever.

    • DannyBrown says:

      @heystephanie Seems more realistic than “social media hurricane destroyed my business” 😉 @ArCIntel

  5. ArCIntel says:

    @HusnainMinawala @samramuslim thanks for the mentions Husnain and Samra! appreciate it!

  6. ArCIntel says:

    @meilysteph @bowden2bowden thanks for the mentions Randy and Stephanie! cheers!

  7. AmyMccTobin says:

    @kmueller62 Thank you Ken!!!

  8. AmyMccTobin says:

    @douglaserice Hey there Doug! Thx for the share.

    • douglaserice says:

      @AmyMccTobin No problem. Great post. Fear is misplaced. Companies should be more afraid of missing opportunities–not making mistakes.

  9. douglaserice says:

    I think the fear businesses have of being involved in social media is misguided, and somewhat ironic. The social media crises that businesses fear aren’t those that occur from companies publishing content on social media. Rather, they often incidents that start OUTSIDE of social media and our spread by consumers THROUGH social media (“Motrin Moms” comes to mind). In other words, the PR fiascos aren’t caused by companies using social media; it’s caused by consumers using social media. 
    Making those crises go away by staying away from social media is akin to putting your hands over your eyes and thinking you’re invisible. Being involved with social media gives brands opportunities to FIX the PR crises. Shouldn’t companies be afraid of NOT KNOWING what is being said about them? Isn’t social media (for most companies) a necessity for PR? I say that, for every PR problem you CAUSE by being on social media, you will have 100 that you SOLVE.

    • AmyMccTobin says:

      douglaserice There have been many crises caused BY replies to consumers using social media. Or, by companies using social media to market in bad taste – Kenneth Cole for instance.

      • douglaserice says:

        AmyMccTobin douglaserice What’s so wrong with exploiting a civil war to sell shoes? Okay, seriously, I may overstated my point. My real argument is that most PR fiascos are caused outside of social media and spread by the public through social media.

  10. AmyMccTobin says:

    Kylenelson24 Thx for sharing Kyle!

  11. ArCIntel says:

    Frank_Strong thanks for the mention Frank!

  12. sontagasomo says:

    Experts are there in the industry to scare u into making sure that u pay them!..great piece on social media pr leaderswest AmyMccTobin

  13. AmyMccTobin says:

    shonali Yes, but I would say it’s both ways.

  14. […] talked about fear mongering in the social space and how that should not be the reason to be IN or OUT of it.  Strategy is singularly […]

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