You’re Ruining Your Reputation on Social Media: Use 5 Basic Rules

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC 

The ability for the global community to post online comments in countless ways and forums makes the world even more frightening for those trying to manage their reputation. For the sake of discussion here, when I use the term social media, I’m talking about all postings to the internet that allow your reputation to be improved or destroyed, as well as the gadgets that make it all possible. There are

3 ways you can get hurt in the world of social media:

  1. When your public actions are photographed or video taped, then posted to the web
  2. When your reputation is attacked on social sites and blogs
  3. When you willingly participate in on-line discussions and do a poor job communicating

For example, there is a video posted to the web of a county commissioner being hounded by a television reporter. When asked after a public meeting to justify the delay in opening a new county juvenile justice center, the commissioner asks the reporter, “Elliot, do you know that Jesus loves you?” The commissioner then dodges every one of the reporter’s subsequent questions by trying to engage in a discussion about why the reporter should accept Jesus as his personal savior. Regardless of your religious beliefs, the answer is inappropriate because it is not germane to the news report, and by repeating a variation of it as the answer to every question, it only makes the official look more like he is guilty of hiding something.

Prior to the advent of social media tools such as Twitter, and, such buffoonery would have been seen once or twice on the local evening news, the commissioner would have become the butt of some brief local mockery and embarrassment, but within a few days it would all pass.

But in the age of social media, millions of people around the world are able to watch the video and laugh at its absurdity on a daily basis. Some will post a link to their own website, or forward a link via e-mails to friends. This is what viral and social media is all about. This video lives forever on the world wide web and so does the commissioner’s embarrassment, mockery and humiliation, as people perpetually forward the video to their network of real friends and online acquaintances.

Issues like this are one of the reasons you should consider Social Media Training. Social Media Training is a program I pioneered to teach communicators and executives the realities and how their reputations can be damaged by public actions that are either voluntarily, or involuntarily captured, and posted to the web.

Numerous reputations and careers have been destroyed because of what someone says in a presentation to what is perceived as a friendly group. Inevitably, an audience member records the speech or presentation, then either posts a portion of it to the web or gives it directly to the media.

Cloaked with an audience of perceived friends, speakers often “cross the line” by their comments, only to face humiliation, embarrassment, and in many cases a long list of apologies and even the loss of their jobs because they thought their comments were made in private and off the record. If you are hosting a social media training class, you may wish to combine it with a presentation skills class.

Social Media Training is also needed before communicators and executives voluntarily attempt to participate in online communities. This is true whether one is responding to a posting made by someone else, or whether you are the one posting to a personal or corporate blog for your organization.

For instance, I found a random blog entry one day as I prepared to teach a Social Media Seminar. The blog entry was from a top executive from General Motors. The blog entry, posted on an official GM site, featured a photo of the executive. The guy in the photo looked like he was delivering an angry rant on stage at a corporate meeting. His blog entry, likewise, took an angry, rant style with a tone that personified, “I know better than you.”

His comment was a reply to a blog posting critical of GM’s poor gasoline mileage in its SUV’s. Because of how the executive worded his rather pompous response, many more participants in the blog criticized his parsed words and reply, which reflected the official corporate line.

In short, the executive’s poor choice of words was like throwing gasoline on a small fire, turning it into a bigger fire. It didn’t need to be that way.

CEO’s and executives need to think carefully before they participate in social media and corporate communicators need to think carefully before asking or allowing executives to actively participate in social media.

There are a few basic things communicators and executives should consider in the world of social media:

1. Are you good with traditional media? If you are not good with traditional media, what makes you think you can handle social media?

2. How do you behave in public? Do you realize that every public moment of your life is potentially being photographed or recorded? Your public behavior, what you do and say, who you associate with, and where you are seen in public, can all be posted to the web for the entire world to see.

My 5 basic rules for social media:

1) Every rule of media training applies to social media. Every word and how those words are phrased will be carefully scrutinized.

2) Edit what you say constantly to avoid having your comments taken out of context.

3) The rule of ethics is to ask whether you behavior in private is the same as the way you would behave if people were watching you. Congruency of behavior is important.

4) Before jumping into an online blog type discussion, you need to be prepared to use key messages and making sure those key messages have been run through the cynic filter. Bloggers are cynical and brutal.

5) Sometimes the best response to a blog posting is to ask a question. Rather than attacking a blogger for their point of view, simply ask them to further explain their point of view. Sometimes a blogger will back down as they are unable to defend their position. Sometimes other bloggers will come to your rescue with responses that match your point of view.

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

How to Use Social Media for Crisis Communications

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

Should You Use a Written Statement or a Video Statement for Crisis Communications?

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC

In crisis communications many people are afraid to put a media spokesperson in front of the media for an interview or news conference. Often a company in crisis will ask, “Is it okay if we just issue a written statement? Do we have to do a news conference?” At the same time, corporate lawyers often write a statement and distribute it to the media, rather than having a news conference.

So which do you think is better? Should you use a written statement or an oral statement for crisis communications? And, as an option, can you issue a video statement?

First, recognize that written statements often feel canned. They used phrases such as, “Safety is our top priority,” even though the event is clearly an indication that safety was never the top priority.

Here are a few facts about written statements:

  • Written statements often feel cold, as though you are saying the absolute minimum.
  • Written statements often make it appear you are hiding the facts and the truth in a crisis.
  • Written statements often can be misinterpreted, because they lack the intonation of a voice.

When we speak, the audience can hear empathy, caring, and concern in our voice. For that reason, the spoken word is more powerful than the written word. Add to that the visual empathy and concern seen through facial expressions, and it should be a no brainer that any statement in which we hear a voice and see a human face is vastly more effective for crisis communications than a written statement.

Social media, Facebook Live, YouTube, YouTube Live, Twitter, Periscope and many other platforms make it easier than ever to record, publish, and share a statement during a crisis.

In the 5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communications, Step 3 is the concept of having 100 or more pre-written statements ready to use at a moments notice. (If you are not familiar with the 5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communications, sign up for our free 5-video course.) The pre-written statements should all be written for oral delivery. This means each statement is ready to be recorded and published to your crisis communications website or to your favorite social media platform.

You should note, that successfully recording a video or using a live social media video platform requires practice. In Step 4 of the 5 Steps, we emphasize the importance of media training. The same skills used to conduct an effective news conference can be used to record a video.

Does a video statement absolve you of your responsibility to conduct a news conference? No, it shouldn’t. In a crisis you should conduct interviews and/or news conferences. You should be prepared to successfully answer questions from the media.

However, if your organization tends to avoid news conferences in favor of printed statements, a video statement is an effective way to show more empathy, care, and concern.

If we can help you more successfully navigate the troubled waters of crisis communications, please reach out to us.

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

How to Use Social Media for Crisis Communications

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

Is Social Media Good for Crisis Communications?

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC

The rules are changing when it comes to using social media for crisis communications.

That is because the social media giants such as Facebook, are making it harder for your crisis notifications to show up in the news feed of your subscribers.

Jay Baer is one of the top experts in the use of social media. He recently told me that Facebook has pulled the football out from underneath you like Lucy pulls the football out from Charlie Brown just before he can kick it.

During one of his presentations, he showed a frightening graph of how since 2014, Facebook has been showing your posts to fewer of your followers and friends. They really want you to buy Facebook ads, but I’d never suggest you do that in a crisis.

You’ve likely noticed in your own social media use that you don’t see posts from as many of your friends as you did five years ago. Facebook has intentionally done this.

If you write a post and no one clicks like or comments, your post will die.

If someone clicks “like,” Facebook lets a few more people see it with each like.

If someone comments, Facebook shows it to even more people.

In other words, Facebook gives you more views with each interaction.

This means I have good news and bad news for you when it comes to crisis communications.

The good news is that if fewer people see your post about a crisis, that means fewer trolls can say ugly things about your organization.

The bad news is, if you have something important that you want people to see, fewer people will see your post.

Honestly, your website should be the main place where people read about your crisis. You own that real estate. You don’t own your space on social media. Jay Baer has always said that

You should never build your house on rented land.

Social media is rented land. On the other hand, you own your website and hopefully you have a robust newsroom where you share good and bad news alike.

When using social media in a crisis, you should never try to grab attention with a compelling headline. Rather, you should simply write, “We have an update to our event posted on our website.” Then add the link. Those who know about the crisis can learn more with one click.

Social media is a double edged sword.

Experience tells us that in a crisis, it may increase damage to your organization’s reputation and revenue.  However, many communicators think social media might enhance their corporate reputation because they are being transparent and open. The place to be transparent and open is on your website where no one can comment. Being open and transparent on social media only attracts trolls and negative comments. In a crisis, you are too busy with more important things than to try to moderate comments from trolls and nay sayers.

The reality is, a proper, honest post on your company website is as open and transparent as you can be. Use the land you own and not the land you rent.

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

How to Use Social Media for Crisis Communications

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson


How to Use Social Media for Crisis Communications

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC 

One of the best new social media tools for crisis communications is Facebook Live. Second in your crisis communications toolkit should be YouTube Live. Third would be any of the other live platforms on social media channels where your audience might follow you during a crisis. For some of you, LinkedIn Live or Periscope on Twitter are a good fit.

You should especially embrace live platforms during serious weather events and natural disasters. For example, this is being written during the first week of September 2019. Annually this is the most active week of hurricane season. Last week we saw the devastation of Hurricane Dorian. With the massive number of communities threatened, Live video would have been and should have been in the tool chest of every community, every utility company, every law enforcement agency, and many companies.

If your company, community, or organization could be affected by a hurricane this season, live video becomes a great way to manage the expectations of your audience before a crisis. Live video becomes a great crisis communications tool during the crisis, and after the event is over, you can inform your audience about how the event affected them in their relationship to you. For example, you can broadcast information about how long before roads are opened or how long before power is restored.

A perfect example would be that an electric company or any government agency could use live videos to warn their audiences about the need for disaster preparation. They could give guidelines for evacuation or precautions. Most importantly, they could use live videos to manage the expectations of which creature comforts might be lost as a result of the hurricane.

Keep in mind, this is also true all winter long when forecasters predict freezing rain, ice storms, blizzards, and other winter storms. This is also true all during tornado season.

Weather events can become crisis events.

Weather events cause a loss of creature comforts such as heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, lights, and all things utility related in a weather event.

People might not evacuate during a hurricane out of fear that they could die. However, they might evacuate – and be less of a burden to you after the storm – if you clearly inform them of how miserable they will be without lights, refrigeration, and air conditioning.

Also remember, that when the lights go out, people turn to social media for updates. Your live videos can and should be their updates.

During Tropical Storm and Hurricane Barry in July 2019, I did a number of live news videos on Facebook Live and YouTube Live so you can see examples of what you need to be prepared to do.

  • Your lighting needs to be good enough for us to see your face.
  • Your audio needs to be good to overcome wind noise.
  • Your content needs to be brief and to the point.
  • You can’t afford to mess up because you are live.
  • You get one chance to get it right, so you better practice.

My videos are often near perfect because I have lots of practice. For 15 years I was a TV reporter, doing live reports daily. Chances are I’ve been on TV live up to 5,000 times.

The real question, is how good can you be live?

If you’d like help being great when you shoot videos live and pre-recorded, check out my program called Weathering the Storm. It is a great hands-on, interactive course to help you make the most of social media and videos during a crisis.

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

Please Pick Me to be Your Media Trainer

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

HSE & Crisis Communication Best Practices

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC

Health, safety, and environmental (HSE) best practices are expanding beyond emergency management and disaster recovery. An increasing number of occupational safety experts are recognizing that their crisis management duties must now include best practices in crisis communications.

Many HSE experts work in smaller companies without a public relations professional, so CEO’s and managers are tasking their HSE experts with managing communications during a crisis event.

To learn more about the 5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communication, use this link to get access to a free 5-part video series that explores best practices in crisis communication. This series takes you into a deeper dive than we have time for here.

Among the things HSE professionals must be aware of is that your emergency response activities are often captured on social media by eyewitnesses. As of this writing, eyewitnesses can broadcast your emergency with Twitter’s Periscope, Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Instagram Live, and LinkedIn Live, as well as other emerging apps.

Not only are members of your community getting information from social media eyewitnesses, but so are the mainstream media who often republish and rebroadcast social media pictures and videos. We have some great crisis communication social media case studies in the 5-part video series.

Respectable companies are seeing their reputation and revenue destroyed because of negative publicity on both social media and mainstream media.

How do you deal with social media in a crisis?

You must adopt new best practices for crisis communications so that you can be communicating with the media, your employees, your customers, and your community faster than ever before. Faster crisis communications helps you control the narrative of the story. Fast and accurate crisis communications also ends speculation found on both social media and mainstream media.

How do you master fast and accurate crisis communications?

Step 2 of the 5 steps to effective crisis communications is to have a library of pre-written news releases that can be edited in record time and distributed to all audiences, including the media, your employees, your customers, and your community. Each of my clients receives a base set of 100 pre-written news releases with their crisis communications plan. Each news release is methodically written to have multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank options that allow the statement to be modified in about ten minutes.

Step 3 of the 5 steps to effective crisis communications is to have a crisis communications plan that sequentially guides the HSE professional through gathering facts about the incident, confirming it with the crisis management team, then using a pre-written news release to communicate with all of your stakeholders. A good crisis communication plan must take into account that the HSE team is not necessarily schooled in the best practices of public relations. Therefore, the best PR and crisis communication practices must be baked into the sequential instructions of the crisis communications plan.

HSE professionals are often becoming the spokesperson in a crisis. Hence, Step 4 in the 5 steps to effective crisis communications is to schedule crisis media training. A pre-written news release makes a perfect news conference script to read. Media training helps you learn to deliver the statement well. It also helps you respond to difficult questions.

To go deeper, register for the 5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communications. If you are ready to move forward, phone us at 985-624-9976.

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

Please Pick Me to be Your Media Trainer

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

Are You a Social Media Hypocrite?, Gerard Braud

When it comes to social media and crisis communications, it’s all about analyzing how your particular audience uses social media. But before we talk about them, we should talk about you and your personal social media habits.

There are still companies that have no Facebook page, no Twitter, and no YouTube channel. Some companies have zero social media. Some companies have set up social media pages, but do not use them consistently. Some companies post frequently to one or more social media channels.

It’s time to cut to the point, especially for companies aggressively posting to social media. On a clear sunny day, when there is no crisis at hand, are you a social media hypocrite? Do you — or someone on your communications team — sit in your office each day updating your corporate social media sites expecting your audiences to follow you, when in fact you don’t personally follow any other companies?

At home, on your personal Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, do you personally follow your bank on social media? Do you follow your hospital? Do you follow your electric company?

As I was teaching my Social Media When “It” Hits the Fan workshop recently to a state-wide medical association, the audience was initially appalled that I asked if they were social media hypocrites. They then realized they were. Each has spent countless hours developing Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for their hospitals. Some had branched out into Pinterest and Instagram. Yet in reflection, they realized that they spend a lot of time posting information for their corporate social media accounts, with the belief their audiences and customers would read it, when in fact they didn’t follow their bank, doctor, oil company, etc.

The audience quickly realized that they were social media hypocrites. Many realized that they were social media and public relations sheep, setting up social media accounts because some so-called social media expert said that every company needs to be on social media or you will be left behind.

It’s also crucial that we talk about the age and social media habits of your audience to determine if social media is the right fit for your organization on a clear sunny day when there is no crisis, because this will affect whether you can reach them during a crisis.

In my research and experience, there is a large generational divide between those who use it and those who don’t, which we will address in greater detail later. The age and social media habits of your audience will help you decide when and if social media needs to be part of your crisis communication strategy. People in their mid-20’s pioneered social media behavior and made  Facebook popular. Now, as some grandparents join Facebook to keep track of their grandkids, younger participants are leaving because Facebook isn’t as cool anymore.

For the most part, it is safe to say that people under 35 are more active than those who are older. So as you decide if social media is right for you, keep this in mind. The best research on social media behavior can be viewed here.

When “it” hits the fan, you have to ask yourself, what does your audience need to know and how do you want them to behave? What is it that you want them to do? Sometimes you need to communicate safety information in the throes of a crisis. Perhaps you need to evacuate a community before a hurricane or issue advisories to your customers and employees before a bad weather event. Many times you may be communicating with your audiences because of an ugly rumor or the exposure of a scandal.

Whatever the crisis, whatever the situation may be, you need to know how to best reach your audience, and make sure you are not a social media hypocrite.

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

3 Lessons the Melania Trump Coat Can Teach All Public Relations People

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson



Is Social Media Mandatory, Optional, or Useless in a Crisis? Gerard Braud

Public relations professionals are appalled at the suggestion of taking a social media site dark and they tweet back to me the names of brands that they think could never go dark in a crisis. But that isn’t the question nor is it why I sparked the debate. The question is, what is right for YOUR brand or corporate social media page?

One size does not fit all in social media policy.

In this article, I will review some important highlights from a podcast I did with Shel Holtz exploring whether there is ever a right time to take your social media sites dark during a crisis. You can listen to the entire podcast here.

1) The entire world on social media is not your primary audience in a crisis. If the crisis garners coverage by the mainstream media, rapid communications to your employees with simultaneous rapid communications to the media should be done first.

In this excerpt I discuss why tried and true beats shiny and new when it comes to social media and crisis communications.

2) Just because you, as a corporate communications or public relations professional, wear out your thumbs scrolling through social media all day, doesn’t mean the rest of the world does. Study the demographics and digital habits of your audience, employees, and customers. There are many companies for which the executive staff, board members, and many of the employees still don’t use social media. E-mail is often more effective than a post on Facebook or a Tweet.

In this excerpt I discuss it further.

3) Be bold enough to consider whether your social media site should go dark because your crisis is being complicated by nasty comments by certified crazies. Many of you who subscribe to this blog are a communications and PR team of one. You have no one else on the PR staff. You should focus on the audiences that are most important and the communications channels that are most reliable. All companies should place high value on their secure website and direct e-mails to their employees and customers. Those loyal employees and customers will become your advocates and supporters on social media.

I discuss which types of brands could go dark without their audience noticing and which types of high profile brands would likely have to stay up and endure an assault of negative comments.

4) Monitoring social media in a crisis is crucial. But don’t waste time getting sucked into the vortex of trying to be a therapist who “listens” to everyone who has a comment. Don’t get sucked into the vortex of trying to respond to everyone, positive or negative. If possible, identify high-value negative stakeholders and comment that you will call them on the phone to have a human-to-human conversation. If you see that your platform is being overrun by the social media trolls, be aware of what they say, but know when to “ignore the mean kids on the playground” and focus on your core audience.

In this excerpt I discuss when you need to let the naysayers have their own discussion on their own social media site, rather than polluting your site.

In conclusion, remember that no two crises are the same and when it comes to social media, one size does not fit all.

This final excerpt looks at what you should do to prepare, long before your darkest day.


Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

3 Lessons the Melania Trump Coat Can Teach All Public Relations People

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson



Social Media at the Crossroads

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC

Crisis communications expert Gerard Braud - Tweeting QuoteAs a conference speaker and presenter, my presentation for the International Association of Business Communicators has been one of the most difficult ever. Why? Because new crisis communication and social media case studies pop up daily. One of my slides says, “You can tweet your way into a crisis, but you can’t tweet your way out of a crisis.” Then like a gift from heaven, Roseanne Barr tweets an insensitive tweet, her television show gets canceled, and at the last minute, I’m having to add another case study of social media at the crossroads.

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Social media – it has all of the attributes and faults of a teenager. Like teenagers, social media can test our patience and resolve, as any parent of a teenager will attest.

We sit at the crossroads. Why?

Admit it. What you perceived as a shiny, new communications tool ten years ago, is now possibly the bane of your existence. As communication professionals and citizens of the world, most now have a love-hate relationship with social media.

Experts came from all around saying social media would allow you to engage your customers and employees. Stakeholders were asked to “join the conversation,” and “be heard.” Admit it. Now there are days when you wish you could hush the many voices on social media.

If your organization adopted social media only for sales and marketing, and not for strategic communications, you made a foolish mistake. Why? Well, when something goes wrong, consider where people go to complain. They complain on social media. If your social media channels are filled with marketing, then no one on the strategic communications side of the organization has a means to listen and engage.

Many global brands are starting to understand this. Frequently when I have a problem with an airline or hotel chain, I am able to resolve the issue with a tweet to the brand on Twitter. That usually leads to a useful direct message conversation and resolution of the problem. But the vast majority of organizations frequently use social media as a publicity channel.

You should question whether social media is now your primary “Un-selling” tool. When a customer has a complaint, they vent and rant on social media, where other customers get to see that complaint, and then share their own bad experiences. When a crisis happens, big or small, social media amplifies that crisis. Communicators must be prepared to rapidly respond to the crisis. Yet in responding to the crisis, you must use expert judgment to determine if responding on social media quells the crisis, or if it is more akin to pouring gasoline on the crisis.

At the social media crossroads, your crisis communications plan must anticipate how audiences will react to a social media post. Many in the field of professional communications believe that posting crisis details to social media and replying to each comment during the crisis is an act of being transparent. As a maverick, I would strongly disagree. Transparency can be achieved by way of a news conference and posting news releases to your corporate website. A link to video from the news conference can be posted on social media. A link to your website can be posted on social media. But a reply on social media to any comment, good or bad, can catapult your post and crisis to the top of everyone’s newsfeed, creating a vortex and volume of comments that should not be your highest priority during a crisis.

Furthermore, organizations must recognize that where once the news media was first on the scene reporting to the masses during a crisis, now it can be any human with a cellphone. By default, the person with the cellphone who is first to post images and video to social media during a crisis, becomes your default spokesperson, until you provide a better spokesperson with a better perspective and better images.

Can you produce a news release at the speed of Twitter?

Do you have a spokesperson who can make a statement at the speed of YouTube?

Social media is a double-edged sword that cuts both ways. Organizations who saw it only as shiny and new, have been cut.

Would you agree that it is time to stop the bleeding?

To gain more insights on Social Media at the Crossroads, join Gerard Braud at the IABC conference in Montreal. His session on Social Media at the Crossroads takes place Monday morning at 10:30 a.m. in the reputation track.

About the author:

Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC, is a crisis communication expert. As a journalist, he spent 15 years reporting on crises. He has reported for CNN, NBC, CBS, The BBC and The Weather Channel. As a professional communicator, he has spent more 20 years helping leaders and organizations on five continents communicate more effectively in their most critical times. This veteran communicator blends the tried and true with emerging communication platforms to create a holistic approach to communication.



Can You Answer These Critical Questions About Crisis Communications, Social Media, and Expert Executive Skills?

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC


Here are two crisis communications and social media questions I’d like you to answer about your executive leaders:

1. Are your senior leaders active on social media?

2. If yes, which channels and platforms do they use?

Social Media Tweetable Quote - Gerard Braud

Why is this critical for you to know?

If you consider yourself an expert in social media or an expert in crisis communications, your senior leaders will reject your expert suggestions if they do not understand the nuances of social media, especially during a crisis.


Whenever I’m invited to give a conference keynote speech to senior leaders and executives, I survey the room to find out who is active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. From conference to conference, LinkedIn is most popular. Very few executives seem to even have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. Those who do are mostly non-active.


Why should this disturb you?

Every crisis in the world is amplified by social media. We are at a crossroads in crisis communications. [On June 4, 2018 I will discuss this in depth with the International Association of Business Communications at their conference in Montreal, Canada. My presentation is called Social Media at the Crossroads.]  Specifically, we are standing at the intersection of crisis communications and social media. How you, or your corporation, respond to the crisis on social media can mean the difference between successfully managing the crisis versus pouring gasoline on a fire.


The decision to engage on social media in a crisis should not be considered a forgone conclusion, as many people in public relations believe. The decision to engage must be part of a well thought out strategy that, like a game of chess, envisions all of the various moves by various respondents in the future. The wrong response makes your crisis worse in ways you cannot imagine until it all comes crashing down upon you.


An executive who is not active on social media will not understand the nuances of each strategic post, and may contribute an opinion or directive that is seriously flawed.

Gerard Braud * 15

How should you address this?

Simply issue the same challenge to your leaders as I do when I’m on stage speaking to those audiences of 500 or more executives. I challenge them to open a Facebook account and spend 30 minutes a night on Facebook, interacting with people, reading posts, and exploring what bizarre opinions exist in this social media cyber cluster of chaos.


Don’t be caught in a war room dealing with a crisis, only to have to fight an internal battle over how Facebook, Twitter and YouTube work. Do it now. Do it before the crisis.




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.