What crazy employee act on social media caused a company to write or change their social media policy?

Generic social media policies can be spread across social media from consultants and public relations professionals. How can you tell if these cover all of your bases thoroughly? Employees may act out of line on social media in so many ways, throwing your organization, company, or school into the midst of a crisis. For the best crisis communications and social media management, you need to act quickly and strategically. Have you ever heard of an employee acting out on social media in an inappropriate, bizarre, or odd way? Did your company or another company you know of have to write an employee social media policy on the spot, or adjust their current one?

To help out our corporate communications professionals, and our public relations community, this week’s communications discussion question is, “What crazy or odd social media act by an employee has warranted writing or changing your social media policy?”

We would love to hear your thoughts this week. Comment here and on our social media pages to join the discussion. Your answers may be featured in our follow-up video!

This question is one of a series of debates in the media relations, crisis communications, public relations, and social media industries where you and your colleagues can share observations with each other. Yes, YOU are invited to share your bite-size bits of best practices. Here is how:

Step 1: Subscribe to The BraudCast on YouTube

Step 2: You will see a short video that poses a new question every Monday. You then post your best practices and observations on The BraudCast YouTube channel.

Step 3: Once your opinion is shared, you can follow the discussion online so you can compare your best practices to those of your professional colleagues.

Step 4: Watch the follow-up Friday Video where you will see a short YouTube video outlining some of the most interesting observations. Yes…your comments may actually show up on our BraudCast video, bringing you world-wide fame, fortune, a big raise, glory, street parades, and more.

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge. Please take 2 seconds now to subscribe to The BraudCast.

Is Facebook an Effective Communication Tool for Businesses?

Social media tips can be spread across social media from consultants and public relations professionals. Communication tips can come from industry professionals, online articles, or it may come from your former or current educators.  So, what are your thoughts on these daily influxes of information? Does using social media for internal and external communications help businesses or hurt them? Should it be used to communicate with clients, customers, and employees?

To help out our corporate communications professionals, and our public relations community, this week’s communications discussion question is, “Is Facebook an Effective Communication Tool for Businesses?”

We would love to hear your thoughts this week. Comment here and on our social media pages to join the discussion. Your answers may be featured in our follow-up video!

This question is one of a series of debates in the media relations, crisis communications, public relations, and social media industries where you and your colleagues can share observations with each other. Yes, YOU are invited to share your bite-size bits of best practices. Here is how:

Step 1: Subscribe to The BraudCast on YouTube

Step 2: You will see a short video that poses a new question every Monday. You then post your best practices and observations on The BraudCast YouTube channel.

Step 3: Once your opinion is shared, you can follow the discussion online so you can compare your best practices to those of your professional colleagues.

Step 4: Watch the follow-up Friday Video where you will see a short YouTube video outlining some of the most interesting observations. Yes…your comments may actually show up on our BraudCast video, bringing you world-wide fame, fortune, a big raise, glory, street parades, and more.

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge. Please take 2 seconds now to subscribe to The BraudCast.

Rethink Social Media Crisis Communications

By Gerard Braud

Do you follow the herd or do you set your own course?

The “herd” mentality of social media is finally changing.

  • Which herd were you originally in?
  • Which herd are you in now?
Vimeo Gerard Braud

Click image to watch

In public relations and marketing, the headline could have read, “Gerard Braud Is the Social Media Lone Wolf.

It started in 2008 with a conference presentation called, “Social Media When ‘It’ Hits the Fan.

Facebook had opened to the public in 2006 and the herd didn’t want to hear about the negative side of social media. Booking agents and meeting planners would ask me to speak about how to use social media as a wonderful marketing tool. Being the lone wolf, I’d explain how social media would lead to an online crisis and that no expert worth his salt should talk about social media marketing without combining it with a crisis communications element.smart-watch-821559_1920

I turned down a lot of paid speaking engagements because the herd only wanted to hear about the pretty online world where customers would beat a path to your door on Facebook. Being the maverick, I saw the potential for those same customers to become an angry mob at your door, using social media as their virtual torches and pitchforks.

Today, demand for knowledge about social media and crisis communications as a combined topic is going through the roof. “Social Media When ‘It’ Hits the Fan” is the most requested topic I’m asked to speak about at conferences and conventions.

Here are some takeaways you should consider if your employer uses social media:

1. Replying to a negative online post might make things worse. Conventional wisdom says to show your concern for a customer by posting a reply. But taking a negative discussion offline is a better option. A direct message that is less public can be more personal. A public online reply on Facebook raises the negative comment to the top of everyone’s newsfeed. This opens the door for more negative comments from those with a similar negative point of view who missed the original post.

2. Tried and true still beats shiny and new. In other words, a tried and true crisis communications plan and response strategy is still needed. It should define all of your audiences and the best communication strategies for reaching your audiences. A social media crisis will likely still require you to talk with the media, communicate to your employees, and to publish a news release statement on your corporate website. A Tweet might get you into a crisis, but it takes more than 140 characters to message your way out of a crisis.

3. Establish a clear social media policy for your employees. Have each employee sign the agreement and place it in their personnel file. Be ready to enforce it. Some of the policies I write for clients prohibit employees from listing their place of employment on their personal social media profiles. You’d be surprised to learn all of things I can’t share with you because of the confidentiality agreements that I’ve signed. But, an ounce of prevention on social media is more than a pound of cure.

The herd is giving you permission to acknowledge that what was once the shiny and new world of social media is now tarnished. If you are not prepared, it will also tarnish the reputation of your company.

 

 

 

Photo credit

If someone writes something negative on your corporate Facebook page, should you delete it?

This week, crisis communications expert Gerard Braud polls social media to ask, “If someone writes something negative on your corporate Facebook page, should you delete it?” We want to hear your expert public relations tips this week!

From disgruntled customers to even disgruntled employees, your corporate Facebook page is a very public platform for voicing opinions. Social media managers and corporate communications professionals must be trained on how to deal with negative feedback or negative comments. From a PR standpoint, what would you do to protect the brand, reputation, and revenue of your company? Should you delete negative comments or respond to them?

We would love to hear your thoughts this week. Comment here and on our social media pages to join the discussion. Your answers may be featured in our follow-up video!

This question is one of a series of debates in the media relations, crisis communications, public relations, and social media industries where you and your colleagues can share observations with each other. Yes, YOU are invited to share your bite size bits of best practices. Here is how:

Step 1: Subscribe to The BraudCast on YouTube

Step 2: You will see a short video that poses a new question every Monday. You then post your best practices and observations on The BraudCast YouTube channel.

Step 3: Once your opinion is shared, you can follow the discussion online so you can compare your best practices to those of your professional colleagues.

Step 4: Watch the follow-up Friday Video where you will see a short YouTube video outlining some of the most interesting observations. Yes…your comments may actually show up on our BraudCast video, bringing you world-wide fame, fortune, a big raise, glory, street parades, and more.

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge. Please take 2 seconds now to subscribe to The BraudCast.

You answered: Should social media be a part of your crisis communications strategy?

By Gerard Braud

Social media has changed the way that corporate communicators must react to effectively manage a crisis. This week public relations and media relations professionals from all over the world shared their advice on whether or not social media should be part of their crisis communication strategy. Their expert opinion is featured today and every week on the BraudCast.   Listen to the video to hear what your colleague’s had to say.

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Click image to watch and subscribe to The BraudCast

This question is one of a series of discussions about media relations, crisis communications, public relations, and social media. Yes, YOU are invited to share your bite size bits of best practices each week. Here is how:

Step 1: Subscribe to The BraudCast on YouTube

Step 2: You will see a short video that poses a new question every Monday. You then post your best practices and observations on The BraudCast YouTube channel.

3: Once your opinion is shared, you can follow the discussion online so you can compare your best practices to those of your professional colleagues.

Step 4: Watch the Follow up Friday Video where you will see a short YouTube video outlining some of the most interesting observations. Yes…your comments may actually show up on our BraudCast video, bringing you world-wide fame, fortune, a big raise, glory, street parades, and more.

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge. Please take 2 seconds now to subscribe to The BraudCast.

When Crisis Strikes: 3 Ways to Think, Act, and Communicate Like a Reporter

— By Gerard Braud

Braud-WebinarYou can’t turn on the television without a major crisis, tragedy, or disaster dominating the 24-hour news cycle. Through what lens do you view these events?

If you’ve never done so, try to watch events unfold with the eyes of a crisis communications expert. Focus on deadlines, timing, and how quickly, or in most cases, how long it takes, before the organization crippled by the crisis starts providing official information to the media. Keep an eye on the clock. Furthermore, zap through the television channels to observe the media and how they fill the information void.

Effective crisis communications requires you to think fast, act fast, and communicate fast. Watch the media so you can determine how to manipulate the media and the information cycle.

Here are 3 ways to adapt to the mindset of the media:

1) To quote Don Henley’s lyrics to the song Dirty Laundry, “Just give me something; something I can use.”

When a crisis happens, your job in public relations is to start pushing out information as soon as the event happens. And this is important – you don’t need a lot of facts to put out information. In fact, saying you don’t know all the details yet is actually a legitimate first statement to the media. Yes, within moments of your crisis going public, you can issue a statement that says,

“We have experienced a ________ at our ____ location. Details are still being gathered. We will share more information as soon as possible.”

This language should already be written in your crisis communications plan. In plans I write for clients, I call this the First Critical Statement, because it is critical that you fill the information void as soon as possible. To get a free download use the coupon code CRISISCOMPLAN when you select the item from my shopping cart.

Not every crisis gets 24/7 media coverage, but if you are in PR there is a high probability that it can happen where you work. Trust me, I spent 15 years as a reporter and 20 years in crisis communications. It is never a question of if it will happen, but a question of when.

The tragic events in San Bernardino are reflective of this. The media initially covered the unfolding story by interviewing worried family members and capturing images and videos from people inside the facility where the shooting occurred. We see this very same behavior every time there is a school or workplace mass shooting. It is very true that in the midst of chaos and tragedy, nearly everyone in the affected organization is focusing on the crisis. But YOU, the PR team, must make it your responsibility to not manage the crisis but to manage crisis communications at the speed at which the world and the media want to know more information.

2) The new normal is built around crises of all sorts being amplified on social media. The media fill the information void with rumors from social media. This exponentially increases pressure on communicators and leaders in companies to issue statements faster to keep the media focused on official sources rather than social media. However, eyewitness social media images and video are highly valuable. This means you need to be prepared to provide the media with your own newsworthy images and video as soon as possible.

3) Media need someone to advance the story as time passes. As a public relations expert you should treat the release of information to the media like a casino buffet. In other words, start small and keep it coming. Just like a buffet has soup, salad, and an entrée, official information should be fed to the media in the same way. They are hungry. You should feed them a little at a time. Too many organizations have executives who think no information should be shared until all information is known. This is a tragic flaw that must be fixed.

Although the media are a critical audience, in crisis communications you must realize that communications to your employees is equally as valuable and sometimes more valuable. Employees who know the truth are less likely to spread rumors. Your goal should be to give the same information to the media, employees and other stakeholders as simultaneously as possible. What you say to one audience you should say to all.

Achieving these high standards requires you to specify this behavior and these timelines in your crisis communications plan. Your crisis communications plan must then get support from your executives on a clear sunny day, long before the crisis. You must also test the process through crisis communications drills that can test your plan, the behavior of each leader, the ability of spokespeople, and the speed of your PR team.

If you’d like to delve deeper into this premise, join me for a free webinar on Thursday, December 17, 2015. Use this link to register.

In this program you will:

  • Learn to adapt a reporter’s mindset
  • Develop a 5-part strategy for effective crisis communications
  • Unlock the secrets necessary to change the leadership behavior within your workplace

About your webinar leader:

Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC (Jared Bro) is known by many as the crisis communications expert who is able to put a low cost, yet highly effective crisis communications plan in place in just 2 days. As a former reporter, you may have seen him on NBC, CNN, CBS, the BBC or The Weather Channel. It is the mistakes he saw people make daily as he covered the news that lead him to create a system of crisis communications plans and strategies that have served his clients on 5 continents.

IABC Calgary Conference Podcast: Top Takeaway Crisis Communications Lessons

Delivering the closing keynote for IABC Calgary. Taking off my pants to prove a point  about the LuLu Lemon crisis of yoga pants wearing thin on the inner thighs.

Delivering the closing keynote for IABC Calgary. Taking off my pants to prove a point about the LuLu Lemon crisis of yoga pants wearing thin on the inner thighs.

As a keynote speaker at the IABC Canada-West Region Conference, I was asked to do a podcast discussing crisis communications lessons for public relations and communications professionals.  Vice President of IABC Calgary, Will Tigley interviews me to talk about crucial communications issues in today’s industry.

Here were a few of the major crisis communications planning aspects to consider that were discussed in the podcast:

First, the need for speed is one of the greatest issues in the industry.  With the speed of Twitter and all social media, there is no longer time to wait multiple hours discussing semantics of a press release.  The key to speed is pre-written news releases. Put the systems in place on a clear sunny day so that when your darkest day comes, you are prepared.

Will Tigley asked, “How do you go from being good at crisis communications to great at crisis communications?” You must have a robust crisis communications plan with pre-written news releases. You must practice in private, media train your spokespeople at least once a year, and act out realistic, high-chaos, yearly crisis communications drills. 

Another aspect to consider in crisis communications planning includes conducting vulnerability assessments. This means walking throughout your organization, interviewing employees, and conducting meetings to determine everything that could ever possibly go wrong.  Categories range from white-collar crimes, to hurricanes, to violence, explosions and even social media crises. Again, these crises are remedied with a simple, yet thorough crisis communications plan, as well as pre-written news releases for each scenario.

If there is one thing to walk away with when leaving the IABC Calgary Conference, or any conference in the future, do not file away your stack of notes. A dream without a deadline is still just a dream. Narrow your list, prioritize it, and set a date to follow through with these crucial crisis communications strategies.

Listen to the podcast here.

BraudCast Answer: How do you get your executives to buy into the concept of using social media if your organization is not yet using it?

By Gerard Braud

Some communicators are still trying to make a case to their executives to use social media for their organization.  They may be trying to persuade their senior level executives or their board members that social media is not just a form of outbound marketing, but it can be used strategically for crisis communications and media relations. This week the BraudCast question was, “How do you get your executives to buy into the concept of using social media if your organization is not yet using it?” Watch the video to hear how your colleagues answered.

 

Click image to watch

Click image to watch

 

This question is one of a series of debates in the media relations, crisis communications, public relations, and social media industries where you and your colleagues can share observations with each other. Yes, YOU are invited to share your bite size bits of best practices. Here is how:

Step 1: Subscribe to The BraudCast on YouTube

Step 2: You will see a short video that poses a new question every Monday. You then post your best practices and observations on The BraudCast YouTube channel.

3: Once your opinion is shared, you can follow the discussion online so you can compare your best practices to those of your professional colleagues.

Step 4: Watch the Follow up Friday Video where you will see a short YouTube video outlining some of the most interesting observations. Yes…your comments may actually show up on our BraudCast video, bringing you world-wide fame, fortune, a big raise, glory, street parades, and more.

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge. Please take 2 seconds now to subscribe to The BraudCast.

BraudCast Question: How do you get your executives to buy into the concept of using social media if your organization is not yet using it?

By Gerard Braud

This week the BraudCast question is, “How do you get your executives to buy into the concept of using social media if your organization is not yet using it?” Your executives may be more traditional in their communication skills. They may be hesitant about opening their organization up to harsh criticism online, or they may not quite understand the purpose of social media. How do you persuade them about the communications and media relations opportunities that social media can provide for them?

execs social media gerard braud

Click image to watch

 

 

This question is one of a series of debates in the media relations, crisis communications, public relations, and social media industries where you and your colleagues can share observations with each other. Yes, YOU are invited to share your bite size bits of best practices. Here is how:

Step 1: Subscribe to The BraudCast on YouTube

Step 2: You will see a short video that poses a new question every Monday. You then post your best practices and observations on The BraudCast YouTube channel.

3: Once your opinion is shared, you can follow the discussion online so you can compare your best practices to those of your professional colleagues.

Step 4: Watch the Follow up Friday Video where you will see a short YouTube video outlining some of the most interesting observations. Yes…your comments may actually show up on our BraudCast video, bringing you world-wide fame, fortune, a big raise, glory, street parades, and more.

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge. Please take 2 seconds now to subscribe to The BraudCast.

7 Frightening Media Realities for Public Relations

By Gerard Braud –-

As the media changes, your media relations strategy must change with it. We covered these changes and strategies in detail at the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) conference in San Francisco during my Monday morning workshop, #IABC15 The Changing Media Landscape.

For those of you who attended the workshop, this blog will be part of the continuing education program you were promised. For those who missed the workshop, this will help you learn what the group learned. For those of you who would like a similar workshop for your chapter or professional association, please contact me at gerard@braudcommunications.com.

Before the teach-back segment, here are links to the two additional free training modules I offered to everyone:

Resource #1: 29-Day Media Training Online Program

  • Follow this link
  • Enter coupon code BRAUD
  • Click APPLY
  • When you see this $199 program ring up as $00.00, enter your e-mail address
  • Hit submit order.

Resource #2: 23-Day Video Tutorial for Smartphone News Videos

The changes in the media landscape include:

1) Reduced staffs, i.e. fewer reporters, photographers and journalists to tell your story.

Interviews

Not too long ago a typical network news crew had five people. A typical local television or print crew had a reporter and photographer. Today, newspapers and television stations alike expect a single person to be both the reporter and photographer.

 

2) The “Caught on Video” craze.

PastedGraphic-2With fewer employees to gather the news, the media depend upon videos submitted by eyewitnesses. The media save a lot of money by not having to chase the news and by letting the news come to them. However, verifying authenticity and facts is a problem. The old rule of, “consider the source,” seems to have gone out the window.

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caughtonvideoStatistics provided by IQ Media show that in the past three years, there has been a monumental jump in the number of times the phrase “caught on video” is said on television broadcasts.

 

 

3) Substituting Trending for NewsPastedGraphic-3

Virtually every television news cast and every media website feature a segment about what is trending. This means that television airtime and web space are being filled with fluff provided by social media, rather than news gathered by professionals.

Statistics provided by IQ Media show that in the past three years, there has been a monumental jump in the number of times the phrase “trending” is said on television broadcasts.

trending

 

4) Judgment Day is Everyday

The media have also substituted real news with social media comments from people who judge other people. A perfect example is the condemnation after the U.S. Navy rescued a family from their sinking sailboat on April 6, 2014. The parents had a small child on board and social media lit up with mean comments, which made up a huge part of the news coverage.

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5) Pretend In-Depth Coverage

CNN looked foolish with their all-in attempt to cover the Malaysia 370 plane disappearance. Non-stop coverage of a single issue means fewer employees are needed than if your network covered a variety of issues affecting the lives of viewers.

 

6) Fake Breaking News

Combined with the pretend in-depth coverage is fake breaking news. The television media have a need to put up a banner across the screen each time they learn one new detail, regardless of how silly it is.

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Among the many crazy things that CNN called “breaking news” in the Malaysia 370 story, is first breaking the news that the final words from the crew were, “Alright, good night.” The next day it was “breaking news” that the final words were, “Good night Malaysia three seven zero.”

Really CNN? In my time as a journalist we would have called that an error and a correction.

Statistics provided by IQ Media show that in the past three years, there has been a monumental jump in the number of times the phrase “breaking news” is said on television broadcasts.

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Solutions to Media Changes

Among the many solutions we discussed, is the need to recognize that in the future, the media will expect you to provide video from any crisis experienced by your company, as well as a narrative. They will expect you to do a selfie style video directly from the scene.

Such videos are hard to do and require training and practice. While the interactive portion of our workshop taught some of the basic skills, the online 23-part tutorial will teach you even more.