Leaving Social Media and Coming back to PR?

06 Aug Leaving Social Media and Coming back to PR?

A recent article in PR Week reported that the big banks are “shunning social media engagement”*

Reading between the lines it looks as though a lot of the big names — Lloyds TSB, Barclays, RBS, HSBC, Co-operative and NatWest – are getting a lot of bad publicity via social media. The article quotes a recent survey:

“The survey showed more than 170,000 mentions on Twitter alone over a recent 30-day period, with negative posts twice as common as positive ones”

One can only guess at the reasons banks are choosing to engage less with social media when logic would suggest it might be a better choice to engage and prove people wrong (if they can).
But this does bring me neatly into something many of my clients have mentioned…a fear over what to do if social media suddenly errupts with negative comments about your brand. Even refusing yourself to engage in social media won’t prevent this happening.
If you are in this situation there are a few choices:
  • Ignore and hope it will all go away. As social media moves very fast this isn’t as daft as it sounds, but do remember those pages and links will always be up there.
  • Engaging in the discussion and putting your own point of view, or what you are doing to solve a problem, into the public domain
  • Prioritising PR and positive mentions in the media to build up your brand, increase credibility and create more and more “good” links and pages that will drive the bad ones down the Google rankings. This is what is often called Reputation Management.

In my opinion, a good response is a mixture of all three.

  1. You can’t ignore these comments, obviously, but developing a bit of a thick skin about them is important if they are just people’s opinions and not particularly derogatory. With fame and visibility comes increased criticism and that is a fact of business.
  2.  This is good is you are able to defuse the situation and prove you are taking their comments seriously (banks listen up).  People like to be heard.
  3. This step is vital, not just for dealing with this situation, but for the long term future of the brand and to lessen the impact of negative criticism in the future. This is why PR is so valuable when it comes to building a business. If a journalist recommends you it can carry a hell of a lot of weight and influence for the future.

I’m not going to be so naive as to say we are experiencing a social media backlash, but I have noticed that many brands are moving their resources back into PR where they have a little more control over the message that is going out.

* http://www.prweek.com/uk/news/1143774/big-banks-shun-social-media/

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