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Please weigh in: Should companies have a social media policy for employees?

By Gerard Braud

Click here to watch & subscribe to the BraudCast

Click here to watch & subscribe to the BraudCast

There is an abundance of human resource policies out there in the corporate world, but is your company or organization really covering the pressing issues that social media can raise? With today’s communications running at the speed of Twitter, your employees could present a reputation and revenue damaging crisis for your organization in just 140 characters.

The question we are posing this week for crisis communications, corporate communications, and public relations experts is, “Should companies have a social media policy for employees?”

Share your opinion and join our weekly discussions by posting here on the blog, on social media or on today’s YouTube video. Later this week I am sharing your expert tips as well as my own opinion in another video. Please subscribe to the weekly question on the BraudCast YouTube Channel to participate.

This question is one of a series of discussion questions 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.

Please share your thoughts: Is it ever appropriate to talk off the record?

By Gerard Braud

Should you ever talk off the record to a reporter? This is a question we are posing on the BraudCast YouTube Channel for corporate communications, public relations, and media relations professionals. We are asking you to weigh in this week on our social media pages with your expert advice.

Maybe you have made this decision in the past and can speak on your experiences. Maybe you avoided this situation and you can explain why you made that decision.  Maybe you know colleagues or senior level executives who have spoken “off the record.” Did it benefit them or harm their reputation and revenue? Your colleagues can benefit from your expert tips.

Please share your thoughts here on the blog and on our social media, and we may feature your answers in the follow up video later this week.

 

Click here to watch & subscribe to the BraudCast

Click here to watch & subscribe to the BraudCast

This question is one of a series of discussion questions 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.

You Answered: What is the Best Way to Get in Touch with a Busy Reporter?

By Gerard Braud

Public relations and communications professionals know that it takes a long term relationship with the media in order to grab their attention. That is why I asked for your bite-sized bits of best practices for getting in touch with busy reporters. Senior communicators weighed in on our social media accounts and I am sharing their answers in this follow-up video. Please share your comments on our social media and subscribe to the weekly question on the BraudCast YouTube Channel to participate each week.

Click here to watch and subscribe to the BraudCast

Click here to watch and subscribe to the BraudCast

This question is one of a series of discussion questions 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.

You answered: Are News Releases Dead?

By Gerard Braud

This week we asked corporate communicators and public relations professionals all over the world, “Are news releases dead?” Are they an effective way to communicate to the media and your audiences? Here is what your colleagues said.  Make sure to subscribe here to the weekly question so you can contribute next week.

 

Are news releases dead?

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: When Should Your CEO Be Your Spokesperson?

By Gerard Braud

Some public relations professionals and corporate communicators argue that the CEO should always be the spokesperson for effective communications, while others say it should be a public relations professional. When is it appropriate for the CEO to be the corporate spokesperson? Please share your opinion with us.

CEO spokesperson 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.

Please Share Your Public Relations Smarts: Here is How

braudcast image

Click image to watch

Because you are so darn smart, it is time to share YOUR smarts. Your bite size bits of best practices are valuable to others just like you. So — ta-dah, drum roll – behold, The BraudCast 2.0 where you are invited to share your best practices in public relations, media relations, social media, crisis communications and employee communications.

Step 1: Subscribe to The BraudCast on YouTube

Step 2: Each Monday we will pose a question and I’d love to know your opinion.

You can post comments on The BraudCast YouTube Channel, on LinkedIn at Gerard Braud, or on Twitter @gbraud.

Step 3: After you post your opinion, follow the discussion online to compare your approach to those of your professional colleagues.

Step 4: Watch the Friday follow-up video. We’ll share a short video with some of the most interesting observations. Yes…your comments may actually show up on our Friday BraudCast video. And of course, for you, that means fame, fortune, a big raise, glory, street parades, etc.

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

Social Media When “It” Hits the Fan

schock2By Gerard Braud

Why are so many powerful people oblivious to the potent, negative power of social media? Every day there is a new crisis communication case study and today it is from Aaron Schock, who has resigned as Congressman from Illinois.

Schock created his own crisis with excessive selfies and posts on social media, showing him engaged in a rather lavished lifestyle of travel. This raised questions about whether taxpayers were footing the bill for his fun.

Tip 1: Establish guidelines for what should be posted and what should not be posted as an official representation of the corporation and the leadership of that organization.

schock1Tip 2: Review your current social media policy for all employees to make sure best practices are being followed. If you don’t have a social media policy for employees, make it a priority to write one.

Tip 3: In a corporate environment, require that three people concur about an image or post before it is shared on social media. Get feedback from one another to measure positive and negative reaction before anything goes online.

If you have a great social media policy that you’d like to share with your public relations colleagues please send it to me at gerard (at) braudcommunications.com

If you’d like guidance on setting up a system that works for your corporate culture just give me a call at 985-624-9976.schock3

Did the SNL ISIS Skit Go Too Far? A Lesson in Opinion Based Crisis Communications

isis 2By Gerard Braud

In the classic sense, it is not a crisis, but there is an underlying crisis communications lesson regarding the Saturday Night Live sketch on February 28, 2015. Social media is buzzing with opinions about whether SNL went too far.

SNL mocked a commercial where a father drops his daughter at the airport as she heads off to fight for the U.S. military. In the sketch, the punch line is that the daughter joins ISIS, rather the U.S. military.

Is this type of humor over the top. Yes? Is that the purpose of SNL? Yes? Do I care whether anyone else things it is funny or perfect? Not really.

The crisis communications lesson here is that people constantly judge. Their judgment gets loud and amplified on social media.SNL

According to the Gerard Braud “Rule of Thirds,” one third of the people will always love your institution or your company. One third will always hate your institution or your company. Then there is a third in the middle that will swing like a pendulum.

If your company experiences a social media crisis filled with the kind of opinions that SNL is facing, you should never try to win over the third that hates you. Yes, Taylor Swift is correct that, “Haters gonna hate, hate, hate.” In other words, the one third who hate you, for the most part, will never change their opinion.

Your goal should be to persuade, comfort, and win the third in the middle, while supporting the one third who do love your company.

You have likely been taught that you can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

In the world of crisis communications, my expert advice is that you try to please 2/3rds of the people all of the time.

When “It Hits the Fan: Effective Communications for Critical Times

By Gerard Braud

The need for crisis communication has never been greater. The need for speed in crisis communications has never been greater.

Williams ExplosionThe reality is that if you experience an incident that the public knows about, you should be communicating to them about it in one hour or less. The biggest problem with this one hour benchmark is that in a world with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, that is still 59 minutes too long.

Look at this photograph. What do you see? Yes, those are workers running from a fireball as it is still rising. What else do you notice? Yes, when everyone should be moving toward safety someone stopped to snap a picture with a cell phone.

This event eventually claimed two lives and resulted in more than 100 reported injuries.

Williams FB pageWithin minutes of the photo being taken, workers built a complete Facebook page about the event. Meanwhile, the company took nearly three hours to issue the first news release. Other than the time of the event, there was nothing in that statement that was newsworthy or that could not have been written and approved three years before the event. It was boiler plate language. By the time it was released, the media and the public already knew every detail.

When “it” hits the fan in the age of social media, you have the option to control the flow of accurate information by releasing details faster than ever before. If you fail to do this you surrender control of the story to the general public, who may or may not have accurate information.

Granted, human resources needs to communicate with the families of the dead and injured. Granted, lawyers will want to avoid giving ammunition to the plaintiff’s attorney in your statement. Granted, facts need to be gathered by the home office. Granted, state police are acting as the primary spokespeople under a NIMS agreement.

But will you also grant this? The photo on Facebook and the Facebook page are providing more information to the public, the media, and plaintiff’s attorney than the official source is. And NIMS can provide a law officer to discuss evacuations, but a state trooper cannot express the necessary empathy that families need to hear, nor can they communicate the contrition that a community needs to hear.

What should you do? How can you get the upper hand?

Step one is to have an effective crisis communications plan that facilitates the fast gathering of information about any incident, combined with the fast dissemination of the details to key decision makers.

Step two is to have a “First Critical Statement” document in your crisis communications plan. The First Critical Statement is a fill-in-the-blank document that can be modified in five minutes and then posted to your corporate website, emailed to all employees, emailed to all media, read to the media at a news conference if needed, and also used as a link on your corporate social media sites.

(Get a free sample and use the coupon code CRISISCOMPLAN)

Step three is to write a library of pre-written news releases with a more in depth system of fill-in-the-blank and multiple-choice options. Such news releases can be written on a clear sunny day, months or years before you will ever need to use them. The goal of the document is to answer every question you might be asked about a specific incident – ranging from fires and explosions, to workplace violence, to executive misbehavior. The pre-written nature of the release allows your leaders and legal teams to proofread the templates and pre-approve them. This saves time on the day of your incident. Usually, the pre-written document can be edited within ten minutes and approved nearly as fast. Once it is ready to use, it can be your script for a news conference, a post to your corporate website, an e-mail to all media and employees, plus a link on social media.

Check your calendar: It’s 2015. Check your computer and smartphone: Social media amplifies everything the public sees or thinks. Check your decision-making: It is time for you to have a modernized fast moving crisis communications plan.

The bottom line is that your reputation and revenue depend upon it.

Crisis Communications & Media Relations Strategies for Winter Storm Juno

By Gerard Braud

Good media interview skills, a properly written crisis communications plan, and command of technology will be critical in the next few days as winter weather moves across the United States, especially into the Northeastern states.

Gerard Braud Winter Storm

Click image to watch this video on 12 Crisis Communication steps you should take today

Good crisis communications means now is the time to begin managing the expectations of your customers, citizens and employees. Many of you will experience power outages that may last for days. Let your customers and employees know this through effective communications today.

Transportation delays – from streets to airports and airlines – will be challenging. Let the community know this now. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio began issuing warnings early.  Well done mayor.

Meanwhile in Boston, (and I don’t want to deflate anyone’s fun here, but…) I question the sanity of a rally for the New England Patriots . People need to be getting home before heavy snow and the team should be moving up their departure time to beat the weather.

In your communications to your audiences, be very clear about the pain, problems and predicaments they will face.

#1 Do Not Sugar Coat the News

Tell people exactly how bad things may get. Make sure your messaging is direct and simple. Deliver the headline, give a good synopsis, and then give the details. Write your communications the same way a reporter would write a news story. Don’t overload your communications with corporate jargon, acronyms and politically correct phrases that may confuse your audience.

#2 Do Not Hedge Your Bets With Optimism

You are better off to tell audiences what the worst will be and then be happy if the worst does not come to pass. It is easier to celebrate good news than to apologize for a situation that drags on and gets worse.

Click here to watch Gerard’s video on winter storms

 

#3 Be Ready to Use Every Means of Communications Available to You

Traditional media will be overwhelmed with many stories. If you want to get their attention and get coverage as a way to reach your audiences, do these things now:

  • Be ready to post updates to your primary website
  • Use iPad and iPhone video to record each update and post it to YouTube
  • Send e-mails to employees with links to your website and video
  • Post that same video to CNN iReports
  • Add links to Facebook and Twitter that send your audiences to your website and your video

#4 Media Training for Spokespeople

Anyone who records a video or does an interview with the media should have gone through extensive media training prior to this crisis. Additionally, do role-playing and practice with them before each interview in the coming days.

#5 Be Skype Ready

In a winter storm crisis, media may ask you to do live interviews via Skype. Download Skype to your mobile devices now and practice using Skype. Additionally, all spokespeople on a Skype interview must be properly media trained in a Skype interview setting. Use my online tutorials to help you prepare spokespersons.

#6 Expect a Spike in Social Media Communications

Keep in mind that organizations that often have very little following on social media will see a spike in social media during power outages. As audiences have no computer access they will turn to their mobile devices. Your team needs to be prepared to monitor social media and reply to posts only when it is absolutely necessary. Too many replies to negative comments only lead to more negative comments and those comments keep re-posting more frequently in everyone’s news feed.

#7 Direct Tweets to Reporters

Increasingly, reporters respond quickly to Tweets. I find that in a weather crisis you can get a reporter’s attention faster with a Tweet than with an e-mail, phone call or text message.

#8 Be a Resource

Don’t confine your social media posts to only information about your organization. Post resources that your audience needs, such as locations to shelters, information about emergency supplies, and any other creature comforts they need.

#9 Don’t Be Left in the Dark

Now is the time to review your list of emergency supplies and gather all of the devices you need to power your mobile devices. Devices like Mophies can charge your phones and tablets. Make sure you have batteries and flashlights. If you can, get a generator and ample supplies of gasoline. Gather extra food, water and blankets. Make sure you can heat your work environment.

#10 Rest When You Can

Rest and sleep well before the crisis. Work strategically in shifts during the crisis. Everyone doesn’t have to be awake all of the time. Naps are allowed in the middle of the day.

#11 Victory from Preparedness

Don’t judge your public relations skills by how well you were able to wing it during and after the crisis. Victory is measured by how much you did on a clear sunny day to prepare for your darkest day.

#12 Update Your Crisis Communication Plan

When this crisis is over, evaluate whether your crisis communication plan worked. It should be so thorough that nothing slips through the cracks, yet easy enough to read and follow during your crisis so that it tells you everything to do with a precise timetable for achieving each task. If it doesn’t meet these criteria, evaluate it during and after your crisis, then prepare for a substantial re-write or re-design as soon as this crisis is over.