Social media has allowed businesses to communicate with their publics easier than ever. Some people argue that the growing demands of social media has blurred line between marketing and public relations where there used to be a clear delineation between the two industries. However, it actually has helped enhancing the efficiency of PR industry, and incorporating social media and inbounding Internet marketing tools and strategies have enhanced our business‘ PR efforts. Especially, when a business faces crisis, social media platforms are used effectively for crisis management.
According to a survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers, a majority of companies do not use social media for their crisis management. Only 8% of respondents believed social media enable them to proactively identify and respond to crisis. However, more companies are aware of the importance of social media for their crisis management because social media platforms allow having conversations in a real time.
Why social media participation is important for PR crisis management
Social media has risen in popularity, and its influence is huge in all business sectors, because of the viral nature of social media. If a company were not participating in social media, it would miss a lot of opportunities to spread its unique and valuable messages to its audiences and to have communications with its value customers and future audiences.
Moreover, social media is a great facilitator for businesses to develop and maintain their relationships with influencers. For businesses, making a connection with the journalists, reporters, bloggers and other influencers who cover topics in the industries that they belong. By having communication with these influencers via social media platforms, businesses will have greater opportunity to have their stories on first hands when the company is facing a difficult time.
What attributes PR practitioners need to be aware of when using social media
Choice When crisis happen, choosing a right social media platform is really important. Social media platforms that get most attention from audiences will be used to communicate in a real time. Usually, Twitter is a platform that draws and deserves the most attention because it acts as an instant news services – Twitter is a word-of-mouth. If company constantly tweets what is happening, information via Twitter will be spread faster than via any other platforms such as Facebook.
Engagement It is the basic skill that all PR practitioners should be aware of. Social relationships are built even before crisis happens, so building relationship with engagement will help saving a reputation at a time of crisis.
Listening It is also another basic skill that all PR practitioners should have. Monitoring conversations related to the company is really important. In the time of crisis, this attribute becomes more important because you do not want public to say invalid information and rumors get bigger. You should be careful watching all conversations.
Responses Along with the listening component, responding to messages is also a critical role. As a PR practitioner, you should be able manage all messages because you do not have control over the messages. Reaching out to influencers or people who are most active during the crisis is important. Responding to inaccurate information or rumors will help you to prevent possible problems that can be raised in the future.
Follow-up PR practitioners never sleep even after crisis! You should keep monitoring and following up what public talks. There would be firestorm of bad information, and you should keep tracking on them and try to find ways to solve the problems. Follow-up will help maintaining relationships with current customers and even future customers as well.