The nature of media is changing, thanks primarily to the innovation of social media and real-time communication. In essence, businesses now have the unique opportunity to converse with their customers in a live environment, which can be decidedly risky as it prevents corporations from delivering considered or articulate responses to queries.
With this in mind, the Daily Telegraph this week ran a fascinating story listing 10 of the most famous corporate social media blunders. From JP Morgan to Tesco, some of the world’s largest corporations have found themselves embroiled in social disputes and scandals thanks to the publication of a few careless words.
How Social Media Can Benefit Businesses
These harrowing experiences should serve as examples to small and mid-sized business, who have neither the customer base nor the resources to overcome PR blunders made through social media. One of the first points to bear in mind is that Twitter sits at the centre of many of these scandals, and this is primarily due the micro-blogging nature of the site and its emphasis on emotive, real-time communication. If your business it do itself justice through the application of social media, its use of Twitter is therefore of paramount importance.
If you consider the horsemeat scandal that enveloped Tesco earlier this year, for example, it is clear that a misuse of Twitter was to blame. Using the pre-scheduled tweet facility, it made a reference to ‘hitting the hay’ on the night before the news broke. It subsequently received a barrage of criticism, despite protesting that the event was simply and innocent and unfortunate coincidence. This is irrelevant in the harsh world of business and PR, however, as every company and private organisation must assume responsibility for its actions and their consequences.
So while pre-scheduled tweets offer our business he opportunity to remain active through social media 24 hours a day, they also remove an element of control from your strategy. You can never predict what is around the corner as a business owner, so it is imperative that you are extremely selective when scheduling tweets in advance. This is a theory that applies to all facets of media and public relations, as your ability to control and manage output will ultimately determine your level of success and the way you are perceived within any given industry.
With this in mind, it is crucial that you empower your staff through media training and mentoring. To find out more about this, visit resources such as Media Mentor to develop a core understanding of what your business needs.