It’s easy to understand that nearly any news – big or small – is going to break on Twitter. But a recent Pew Research Center study shows that 8% of the most educated, mobile and young U.S. citizens consume their news on Twitter. You’ve probably heard it before: the conversation about your brand is going to happen whether you’re participating or not. That’s just the nature of social media.
1) Have an idea of where relevant conversations are typically taking place.
Monitor online conversations via Google Alerts, TweetDeck, HootSuite and other free tools. Use your brand name, product names, executive names (if appropriate) and consider frequent misspellings of those terms as well. If there are a ton of conversations, consider a paid monitoring tool like Radian 6, Sysomos or BusinessWire’s NUVI.
2) Register corporate accounts for platforms where conversations occur frequently, even if you don’t plan to actively participate.
It takes quite a bit of manpower to manage a corporate Twitter account effectively. Newsworthy posts, timely responses, not to mention having enough to say day-in and day-out to make it worthwhile. That said, if there’s a chance that a prominent conversation could take place on Twitter, you should probably have an account. If you don’t plan on posting (or don’t have the time), make it clear in the account’s biography/description that you’re here to listen, but rarely participate. The same can be said for any social media or online platform where prominent conversations could take place about your product, service or brand. Register (to also make sure you have secured your brand’s name) and listen now so you have a working knowledge of the platform before you have to.
3) It’s hard to start from scratch when a crisis breaks. Make sure your brand story is being told today.
It’s hard to buy homeowner’s insurance when your house is on fire. It’s probably even more difficult to talk about all of the good things your company does when a crisis is breaking. Identify what you can do today with the resources you have available to garner positive news, produce relevant content and build your online community. Media relations, online content and search engine optimization (SEO) work together extremely effectively to tell your brand or product story. The great news is all three of those things will benefit your business with or without a crisis – so build your integrated communications plan accordingly.
Jim Licko is a senior director of social media and digital strategy at GroundFloor Media and is a vocal proponent of making sure his clients are using digital content, media relations and SEO together to achieve as much as possible from their strategic communications plans.