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How Social Media Intelligence Can Save Your Public Relations Pitfalls

The Public Relations industry has changed dramatically in recent years. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media sites are now where everyone receives their news and information. Newspapers, television news and radio reports have become more and more antiquated. Social media intelligence is more important than ever.

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Our new methods of communication are instantaneous. Nowadays, public relations and marketing teams have very little time to respond in a crisis. PR success depends on how well a company “sticks-the-landing” of a solid social media performance.

Global organizations such as United Air, Adidas and the Red Cross have all had their share of public relations pitfalls, with some using social media better than others.

What can you learn from these social media calamities?

With social media intelligence & deft handling, PR disasters can be avoided, mitigated, minimized, or averted completely.

Here are some tips and tools for avoiding challenges that may be lurking around the corner.

  • Know your influencers

  • Timing and context is everything

  • Be honest and transparent

  • Your brand goes beyond Twitter, Facebook, keywords & hashtags

Influencers Are Shaping the Conversation

Today's viral influencers can make or break a brand’s reputation.

Leveraging the power of your social media influencers is like sponsoring an actress to star in your TV commercial. The big difference is, the influence spreads faster, and farther than ever before.

Identifying and engaging with influencers, and cultivating endorsements from them is powerful. It's now one of the most effective ways to shape public opinion of your brand.

Find out who is talking about your brand, or your competitors’ brands, and reach out to the select few that are talking the loudest, for better or for worse. Isolate the squeakiest wheel.

It's impossible to form a one-on-one relationship with everybody. But, you can reach out to the loudest. With social sharing, one small negative message can turn into an avalanche very quickly.

Since social media influencers are driving the conversation, it’s important that the conversation paints your brand in a positive light.

It's easier than ever to advocate for your business online, thanks to social listening tools like Echosec.

The Wrong Message Travels Fast

A powerful message at an opportune time can elevate your brand at an alarming speed. Alternatively, the wrong message at the wrong time, or in the wrong context, can spell disaster.

In 2017, sportswear giant Adidas delivered a congratulatory email to Boston Marathon runners stating, “You Survived the Boston Marathon.” This was clearly a poor choice of words. Adidas failed to consider the tragic 2013 Boston Marathon when a bomb killed three people and injured over 260.

A spokesperson for the company later apologized for the oversight.

PR departments can use social media tools to avoid this type of error. A quick keyword analysis in a social discovery tool like Echosec can help. Editors can cross-reference their content to discover the sentiment attached to certain keywords.

The data found in these types of platforms contains valuable insights. Marketers and PR professionals can analyze social data to discover which influencers are causing the most buzz. They can find out who is driving the overarching sentiment connected to their brand, and which social channels they are posting on.

Honesty and Transparency Go a Long Way

The Red Cross is no stranger to disaster situations. In 2011, they proved that their PR disaster response is no exception.

In an embarrassing slip up, a member of the social media team made the mistake of posting a personal Tweet to the organization’s Twitter account. The rogue Tweet contained language that implied that someone or multiple people would be getting drunk after work.

How Social Media Intelligence Can Save Your Public Relations Pitfall
The Red Cross reacted immediately and dealt with the mistake in an honest and humorous way. This is a shining example of applying social media intelligence to get ahead of the conversation.
How Social Media Intelligence Can Save Your Public Relations Pitfall


The Red Cross team are social media superstars. Read more here.

Own Your Mistakes

A few weeks after PRWeek magazine named United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz “U.S. Communicator of the Year,” he demonstrated remarkably poor judgment regarding a violent incident involving a passenger that occurred on a plane.

The traumatic event of a passenger being forcibly dragged off the overbooked aircraft was captured by several smartphone-holding onlookers. Munoz maintained that the passenger was “disruptive and belligerent,” and apologized only for “having to re-accommodate customers.”

A quick and genuine apology for the mistreatment of the passenger would likely have gone a very long way to mitigating the now tarnished reputation of United Airlines.

How Social Media Intelligence Can Save Your Public Relations Pitfall

Social Media Intelligence, beyond the 'Big Three'

Type into Google, "How many different social media sites are there?” and you won’t get an answer. That’s because there are too many. The reach of social media is broad and diverse. It’s important to acknowledge that your audience stretches far beyond Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


How Social Media Intelligence Can Save Your Public Relations Pitfall Social Media Landscape in China

Countless online hangouts provide a place to find your next champion or customer. Listening is learning, and your target audience is talking. When brand health is at stake, missing out on the conversation is not an option.

Instead of searching the "Big Three" for brand mentions, social listening tools provide access to the diversity of social networks releasing data from any location, offering a holistic social perspective. Platforms like Echosec make it possible for businesses to listen to the conversation from a unique angle.

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Social Insights Beyond Hashtags

Only 7% of Tweets contain hashtags and if you factor in typos, emojis, and posts that contain no text at all, finding relevant information can be difficult. And what if the post doesn’t mention the name of your company? The simple answer to these issues is searching social media by location. This type of search goes beyond hashtags and keywords. It collects a wide variety of posts in one specific geographical area.

Of course, with features like keyword search, platforms like Echosec also allow you to search for that important mention. With its Enterprise platform, Echosec will even search for that keyword for you and send an alert if and when it finds anything.

Listen, and know, before it happens.

There are billions of conversations happening on social media right now, and they are too loud to be ignored. To avoid disaster, marketers and public relations professionals need to be in the driver's seat on social media. A PR team has an extremely small window of time to get in control of events surrounding their brand. In only a few hours, an event can be the top trending story or forgotten. The team has the power to control the results. With the right set of online tools, you're sure to "stick the landing" of your next PR calamity.

Find out how Echosec delivers social media intelligence, where it matters most.