Five Rules for Social Media Brand Management During a National Crisis
Before I get too far into this topic, I want to say that my thoughts and prayers are with the victims of yesterday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon. It was and is the definition of senseless violence.
It’s a very modern thing, and unfortunately it’s happened lately with increasing frequency — our entire nation mourning via social media. The latest incident was the bombing at the Boston Marathon. If you went on Facebook or Twitter yesterday afternoon, the vast majority of the posts you saw were expressing condolences or passing along details of what happened.
Unfortunately, what you also saw mixed with the heartfelt and personal messages of shock and grief were branded messages that had nothing at all to do with the horrifying events of the day. The companies behind those messages either weren’t thinking when they posted them, or scheduled them hours or even days in advance and then walked away.
How bad and damaging these non sequitur posts are is up for debate. Peter Shankman, one of the true gurus (although he may hate that word) of social media, is particularly bothered by them and thinks they’re significantly damaging to a brand when they happen. He would most likely believe that this blog post is unnecessary as social media managers should know better by now. But, obviously if it’s still happening then more education is needed. That’s why I present my Five Rules for Social Media Brand Management During a National Crisis:
- Pay attention. You can’t afford to go into a rabbit hole and not pay attention to the news. Knowing what’s going on in the world is part of the job of a social media manager.
- It’s okay to be personal. Posting a short and very concise message of sympathy for the victims is not only okay, it reminds your audience that your brand is made up of people. Be very careful in the wording, however, and make it genuine.
- Shut down. Remove all non-relevant scheduled Tweets and Facebook posts, and stow them away for another day. Not only will no one pay attention to them, continuing with “business as usual” may actually harm your brand as your audience may see you as not caring. The exception to this rule is if your company has a personal connection to the tragedy. Obviously, posting (for example) that the team your firm put together to run in the race is safe and sound is different than a branded message.
- Adhere to the 24-hour rule. Other than a short condolence message, it’s best to stay “dark” with branded messages on social media for at least a day after the incident breaks. When you return to normalcy is a judgement call, but 24 hours should be the minimum.
- Let common sense be your guide. An hour or two before the Newtown school shooting, I posted a silly picture for “Friday fun” on a client’s Facebook page. An hour or two after the news broke, I was planning to post a weekly winner in a contest we were running. When I heard about the shooting, I not only scrapped the contest winner post, I also deleted the silly picture, as it no longer seemed appropriate. In the end, if it doesn’t feel right then delete it or don’t do it in the first place.
And, a bonus: Help. If your business is in a position to give help to victims or families, obviously give it but don’t brag about it. That’s not social media savvy … it’s just being good people.
What do you think? Am I missing a rule that should be included?
News Release Distribution Review 2010
This is the third installment of my running review of online news release distribution sites. If you’re finding these reviews for the first time, you should know that I’ll update this post as best I can throughout the year as sites change their offerings. Previous editions of my review can be found here and here.
This post has been a long time coming. Client work and family life keeps getting in the way, but the online distribution universe changes so fast, and I’ve received so much goodwill as a result of the previous two versions of my online news release distribution reviews that I had make the time to write this update.
Let’s take a look at a some good reasons to distribute your news releases online:
- By including a link in your release, you’re building inbound links to your web site.
- Your news is being spread beyond the boundaries of your web site, increasing the odds of it being seen by your audience.
- There is the possibility that it will be seen by new media or traditional media, leading to coverage from these outlets. This isn’t something I ever count on, but it does sometimes happen.
Disclaimer: There have been occasions where I have been given free “try out” release distributions. I do accept these because they allow me to sample different services, but I do my best not to let them sway my judgment in the review. I consider it the same as a product reviewer accepting a sample product. Disclaimers about specific services can be found within their reviews.
So, which is the best place to distribute your news releases to reach your goals? Below is a review of what I consider the best of the best, both free and paid. Feed free to add your own via comments!
The SEO Value of Press Releases
Jiyan Wei, a product manager from PRWeb, posted this week on his blog a great overview of press releases and SEO. He runs through the history of SEO as it relates to release distribution, and gives a number of recommendations on how to write a release that will help your site’s search rankings.
Jiyan mentioned that he’d been getting a lot of questions about the SEO value of news release distribution. I suspect that many of the questions came from attendees of the PRWeb webinar in which I presented on Wednesday. I know we got a lot of them during the session. I told Jiyan through Twitter that his blog post was a wonderful overview on the topic and is one that I’ve been meaning to write. Now I don’t have to!
News Release Distribution Review UPDATED
NOTICE: This review is now out of date! Please check out my updated review for 2010:
One of the most popular blog posts on this site is my April, 2007 review of online news release distribution services. Because this review is so popular, I feel a responsibility to keep it updated. I last updated the original post in September, and since then I’ve been promising a complete overhaul. Now … here it is!
Presenting at Another Free PRWeb Webinar
The PRWeb webinar on October 14 (yesterday, as I’m writing this) went so well, they’ve decided to do another next week. And, I’m once again invited to be a presenter! The topic will be the same: Use PR to Grow Your Business. The last webinar was a record setter for PRWeb, with approximately 1,000 people attending. The next one looks like it could be even bigger.
I’m honored that the other presenter at next week’s webinar will be Amy C. Cosper, Editor-in-Chief of Entrepreneur Magazine. I don’t pretend to have as impressive a title, but I think between us we’ll be able to dole out quite a bit of good information and advice. My portion of the presentation isn’t finished yet, but I expect to be speaking primarily about marketing on the web through SEO, SEO PR, social media and blogging.
The next webinar is on October 22 at 2:00 p.m. ET. It will likely last about an hour.
To register, just follow this link. It’s free!