No brand or company, no matter how outstanding, is immune to the possibility of negative social media. The world of social media provides a great opportunity to connect with people and engage new audiences, but it also gives disgruntled people a whole new way to vent their frustrations on a public forum. How can you handle your PR strategy in a setting where with just one click, someone can vent anything they wish?
Be where customers are. The first rule of thumb for having a social media presence is to actually be present. Some social media pages even have 24/7 monitoring to respond to comments almost immediately; these companies enjoy the best social media has to offer and generally have the most stellar reputations. If you’re not monitoring your social media presence regularly, you’re allowing negative comments to go unchecked and will only frustrate people more.
Show you care. If negative comments come up on a public forum, respond to them on that same forum as quickly as possible. This shows any bystanders that you’re engaged and that what people think and say about your company matters to you.
Cover all bases. With so many blogs, fan pages, and social media outlets, it’s hard to keep track of who’s saying what about your business. Sites such as Brandwatch Social Media Monitoring help keep things straight by using keywords to track conversations, tweets, YouTube videos, and more. For a more comprehensive listing of social media monitoring sites, visit this link.
Don’t ignore negativity. While it may be tempting to hide under the covers if negative tweets come knocking, it’s best to respond quickly. Do what you can to resolve the issue and get the unhappy person back on your side. Ignoring negative comments is the worst thing a business can do.
At MarCom, we’ve followed these guidelines on behalf of our clients with rigor, and have found that we can often turn a negative situation into a very positive one. For example, a job candidate contacted a local branch of one of our staffing clients and never received a call back, a fact he then tweeted. Thanks to ongoing monitoring of our clients’ social media outlets, the company was able to identify the cause of the mishap – transposed numbers on a phone message. So the staffing office had been trying to return the job candidate’s call but was dialing the wrong number. The company subsequently responded to his tweet, spoke to him personally, and soon after found him a great job. Which he then glowingly tweeted about!
No business can prevent negative comments on social media, but that’s okay. With some solid monitoring, prompt responses, and a good attitude, disgruntled people may end up being your most loyal advocates. Negative comments aren’t a curse; they’re a way to show the world how engaged you are and keep existing customers coming back.
By Debbie Clark, Managing Partner, MarCom
A Field Like No Other
Public relations is a field like no other. It’s demanding, exciting, exhilarating, and always keeps professionals on their toes. From how you eat your lunch to your love affair with your phone, here are the top 8 signs you know you’re a tried and true public relations pro.
1) Your phone might as well be connected intravenously.
Phones are paramount to the work that PR professionals do. We’re connected to them nonstop, never far away from them even during vacations and holidays, and always have a backup charger (or four) handy just in case. From e-mails to conference calls to texts, life revolves around our ability to connect.
2) You speak in jargon. A lot.
Whether you’re looking to help a client make their measurement tactics more actionable or trying to synergize your team to optimize bandwidth, PR folk love their buzz words. From optimizing social networks in real-time to seamlessly sustaining a groundbreaking best practice, PR buzz is a language all its own.
3) When a public figure has a mishap, you immediately think about how you would handle it.
PR is often about putting a best foot forward, but sometimes it’s also about helping clients keep from putting their feet in their mouths. Whether it’s an illicit scandal or just a social misstep, PR pros are constant strategizers who are always ahead of the next crisis.
4) A deadline of two hours is considered ample time.
PR is a field that moves lightning fast. Moving at the speed of reporters’ deadlines and surfing ahead of the latest news break, PR professionals know how to think on their feet and get it done on time, every time. Deadlines? We defy them. No time crunch is impossible to beat.
5) You sometimes realize you forgot something… Lunch.
The client always comes first in PR, which means that many meals are eaten computer-side while simultaneously texting and listening in on a conference call. From speed walking in stilettos while holding hot coffee and a briefcase to balancing a bluetooth and GPS devices as you zoom to your next meeting, you’re better at juggling than the Cat in the Hat.
6) You’re an expert on some unusual topics.
When you land a new client, the relationship isn’t just “them” and “you” anymore. It’s “us.” That means that when it comes to knowing the ins and outs of the organic milk industry to mastering the vocabulary of the wind turbine biz, you’re an expert at becoming an expert in record time.
7) You check Google alerts. On weekends.
News is a force that never stops, and PR professionals can’t afford to detach for even a day. If you find yourself excusing yourself even during weekends to scroll down the latest news alerts, then you’re definitely in the game.
8) Great coverage is worth it all.
Great news coverage doesn’t just happen. It takes volumes of coordination and preparation worthy of an Olympic synchronized swimming competition. But when you land that one great story, it feels just like you’ve earned the gold.
By Tricia Boone, Managing Parner, MarCom
A young woman recently asked my advice on how to climb the corporate ladder. While I don’t consider myself a poster child for ascent (especially since I leaped off midway) she thought it was worth sharing, so here are a few tips, based on my personal experience.
- Think like your boss. Whatever your boss’s role is put yourself in his or her shoes. What information, validation, will she need to take the project to the next level. What will her boss ask for before he approves the budget, “green lights” the project? Whatever that is, do it. Or at least gather the information to enable your boss to do it. By anticipating your boss’s needs, you will soon train yourself to move beyond completing tasks to creating solutions – and being a problem solver will accelerate your career.
- Build consensus (or at least learn the position your non-supporters will take). Busy executives need to make swift, informative decisions. Your ability to be concise, while providing the pertinent information required for making an informed decision, is as important if not more important than how well you do your actual job. Remember that an executive has to consider not just your perspective but how a program will impact other parts of the company. To form a compelling argument, talk to other functional heads, understand how your program will support their organizational goals. Also understand what objections others will have, formulate appropriate solutions, and proactively address these as part of your argument. For example, as a marketing communications leader, I had to quickly learn to think like a sales person (the maker of the money) and an accountant (the holder of the money) and incorporate their critical thinking into my arguments.
- Deliver. Deliver. Deliver. The business world is a small one. Whether it’s your company, your industry, or your market – you never know whose paths you may again cross. So no matter how high or low on the organizational chart be sure to leave a good impression. This isn’t accomplished by always saying “yes.” The key is to manage expectations, deliver on your commitments, provide prompt and proactive updates as circumstances change, and take the time to explain sound rationale when you need to say “no.” People will respect you for it.
- Act the part. We’re all green at some point in our careers, or new to a certain rank. In my case, I can still remember my first industry networking event, first high-stake vendor negotiation, and first presentation to the board. When in doubt, I observed the most confident, seemingly seasoned people in the room and simply did as they did. Sometimes with a few butterflies in my stomach, but I decided that no one was going to treat me as a confident, smart young professional unless I presented myself that way. For the most part, it seems to have worked!
I became the youngest corporate vice president for my former employer at the age of 29, and had the opportunity to travel internationally, help integrate more than 30 acquisitions and even ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange!
But most importantly, I learned lessons that have helped me to succeed in the corporate environment and in my post-corporate life, as well. It was my rapport, reputation and relationships with executives throughout my corporate career, that enabled me to start a successful marketing communications agency seven years ago, on nothing but word-of-mouth.
By Liza Palermo, Managing Partner, MarCom Group