Managing online PR is crucial for brands in the information age. Consumers today have unlimited access to information before making a decision. Reviews, traditional news sources and social media, are all places your prospects go before reaching out. As such, just one negative review, PR slip-up, or poorly-managed accident can make the difference between a customer choosing you over your competitor. In the social age, successfully navigating your next PR campaign is more important than ever.
The most common approach for unhappy customers to make their voices heard is through social media. This could include Facebook, Twitter, or even Reddit. Here’s a great example of one of the biggest brand PR disasters in Reddit history: microtransactions in Star Wars Battlefront.
The best way to handle any PR disaster is to engage with the customer at the source. Here’s how social media can help:
1: Social media is the fastest way to react and respond to PR disasters
You need to respond to problems quickly. Allowing issues to build up without any response quickly leads to things getting out of control. After a certain point the damage done to a brand’s reputation is irrevocable (see Chipotle for example). Social media monitoring and listening tools allow you to track mentions, tags, images, and locations and be alerted when the important ones are triggered.
2: You can get highly personal with a social approach to public relations
1:1 interaction is something brands can do today like never before. The best part? It’s still public if you want it to be. KFC didn’t choose only 6 guys named Herb and the 5 Spice Girls to follow on Twitter because they thought it would be fun. It allowed them to personally interact with their followers AND it became a marketing hit overnight. The same can be said for a PR campaign. Take advantage of personalization and respond to issues quickly and your customers will be happy. All anyone wants to do is be heard, and you have the power to help them do just that.
3: If location is important to your PR campaign, you need social media geofencing
A lot of PR disasters happen around a location. This could be anything from a single restaurant in a chain to a town in which a manufacturing facility is dumping chemicals into a water supply. Regardless, social media posts come with location data that, with the right tools, allow you to filter out the noise and look only at the data you need to see. It’s called geofencing and it can be highly powerful for a PR campaign.
How To Use Social Media for Your next PR Campaign
There are a number of ways to take advantage of social media for your next PR campaign. One would be the old-fashioned way – monitor social media manually, taking a couple hours every day to check hashtags, search locations, and carefully craft the right message. Another would be to enlist a management tool that keeps (most) of your networks in one place. These tools don’t catch everything though, and you need to see data across as many networks as possible.
Public relations professionals are increasingly turning to a growing category of social media tools that can automate the research and discovery process, allowing you focus on the part of the campaign that really needs you – the creative part. However, there’s only one tool that can do it all, combining social media with custom alerts, advanced analytics, and geofencing technology. Echosec is the only platform combining geofencing technology with blogs, news and social media to drive advanced customer engagement for multiple industries. The tool gives users the ability to draw a virtual fence around any location to see what’s happening using mapping data provided by Twitter, Facebook, VK, Flickr, and many other platforms. Its powerful analytics, on-the-ground perspective, and instant alerts are proving highly valuable for PR professionals wanting to ensure their campaigns get the right kind of traction.