Tag Archives: Social media

PR in a ‘DIY’ age

With the advent of social media, we are living in a “DIY” age when it comes to corporate communications. With dozens of platforms, instant access and suites of tools to automate previously complex communications tasks, everybody and their kid are “doing” PR these days.

Which is great in some ways, but not so good in others.

So many platforms, so little time

With so many platforms and so many tools at their disposal, the average business owner is likely to be overwhelmed. Worse, they may be spending hours each week in ad hoc posting across a number of social media sites, without any formal plan to make the most of their activities or leverage the time they are investing.

During the past five years in particular, we have seen the ascension of Twitter, Facebook, and most recently Instagram. Even the old-fashioned [relatively speaking] LinkedIn has become “Facebook-ified”, with ‘inspirational’ messages transposed over landscape photos supplanting what would previously have been a bit of news about one’s business.

People are turning to social media as their first point of reference for news of all kinds. This includes your clients and customers, as well as your teams.

And the volume of materials posted is growing exponentially. It’s literally impossible to keep up.

Set priorities and hand-off

So what is a business owner to do? Unless you have a great interest in social media and plenty of time, my advice would be to outsource your social media to a firm that can manage it as one component of your overall communications programme.

I say “communications programme” advisedly. Because while social media has become paramount to many, it remains just one branch of something bigger. That something is a coordinated communications strategy encompassing public relations and marketing.

Working with a team to set goals for your communications, develop campaigns, and plan tactics is a great way to ensure that you manage your social media — and all your other media — rather than it managing you.

And that is a great starting point for any business to succeed. Even in a DIY age.

Tylenol recovered. But will United Airlines?

Shock. Horror. Outrage. That has been the reaction of people around the world to the brutal images of airport police dragging a passenger off a United Airlines flight yesterday in the U.S.

I am wondering how a paying customer can be brutalised by a business he has contracted with? In what world is that okay? And in what world, can such brutality be justified by claiming, in essence, the passenger had a ‘bad attitude’? Apparently, standing up for yourself is not simply defiant: it’s against the rules.

We’ve been conditioned to believe that “the authorities” can do pretty much as they please when it comes to issues or situations which are even remotely associated with “security”.

Unfortunately, it appears we’ve inadvertently given carte blanche to corporations working in these industries to abrogate basic human rights, not to mention the rules of civil society.

Did it start with the US’s National Security Agency violating people’s physical bodies during airport body searches? In a few short years, we now feel it’s normal to subject ourselves to invasive and at times degrading levels of interaction at airports under the guise of complying with “security regulations”.

And in January, the UK passed the Snooper’s Charter, which enables the government  — apparently ‘legally’ — to spy on every citizen, without cause. All in the name of “security”.

I’m fed up. I can only hope that United Airlines’ reputation is so badly damaged by this that drastic measures must be taken to rehabilitate it. Tylenol recovered from the tampering scandal, largely because they were not at fault. United’s agents, in this case, airport police, have done irreparable damage. Indeed, a breaking story from The Guardian indicates United’s share price has plummeted, wiping $1bn from its value in hours.

But there may been good to come of this yet.

What I have observed today gives me hope. The shock and  horror of the passengers’ faces as their compatriot was bounced and banged off the plane gives me hope. Ordinary people have not lost their innate sense of what is right. Their horrified reaction says it all.

It’s time we reminded corporations and governments who they are meant to serve.

For more information or to support a challenge of the UK government’s illegal Snooper’s Charter, click here for details from Liberty.