Tuesday, August 11, 2009

PR Headaches Avoided through Social Media Engagement

Posted by Amanda Walsh

This article, For Companies, a Tweet in Time Can Avert PR Mess found on TheWallStreetJournal.com is a great resource on strategies and tactics for social media engagement. Writer, Sarah E. Needleman specifically focuses on the use of social media by corporations to converse in crisis communications.

Needleman sites a few examples of successive use of social media to “Avert a PR Mess” including this one from automotive industry giant, Ford. Last December, Ford's head of social media Scott Monty, became aware of online comments criticizing Ford “for allegedly trying to shut down a fan Web site, TheRangerStation.com.” He wasted no time in finding out the story behind the criticisms and quickly tweeted about it. Later, he spoke to Ford’s legal team and then tweeted that the dispute was settled.

Through quick, effective response and monitoring of social media, Monty was able to take control of the situation happening on social media networks. Professionals are now writing case studies about the Ford situation and how Mr. Monty handled it in a prompt and appropriate way.

PepsiCo experienced a similar situation involving a controversial commercial. Through the process of listening to the public and issuing quick responses, the situation was defused via social media outlets. PepsiCo’s competitor, Coca-Cola Co. is vamping up social media efforts as well by focusing on accounts on Twitter. Other industries including airlines like Southwest and technology companies like Microsoft are following suit.

Companies are now beginning to train staff to engage in their overall corporate social media efforts. Effectively using social media to avert a crisis in PR is a big and challenging task. To read more from the article in the Wall Street Journal.com, click here.

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