Pause Before You Post
We're all familiar with the saying, "If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all." Most of us probably learned it the hard way, too. With the increasing prevalence of social media it's becoming more common for companies to put a foot in their mouth online. Reputations can be ruined in the matter of seconds it takes for someone to compose a 140-character tweet or share a video clip. Companies who have suffered from this misfortune have validated one of the most important cardinal rules of PR professionals— think before speaking (or posting). In terms of joining the online conversation, how thin is the line between dangerous and imperative?
As we head into the New Year, social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, Periscope and Twitter are only continuing to grow in popularity, with the likelihood that a few emerging social platforms will make a name for themselves in the coming months. While brands of all kinds attempt to gain name recognition on a popular online social platform, the risk of negative exposure becomes greater and greater.
Following the Golden Globes, MTV Australia was reprimanded for its racist tweets directed toward two Hispanic actors. MTV Australia certainly isn't the first company to be publicly scolded for its social media posts but might be one of the first largely-covered PR controversies of 2016.
In the whirlwind industry of PR, staying on top of news is always a competition. In regard to award shows like the Golden Globes, timelines on all social media platforms are flooded with commentary from a total range of companies but that doesn’t mean their social content will not rise above the fold. Fashion and entertainment brands may have a stronger connection to the event but restaurants, news sources – you name it— reap the benefits of posting relevant content for valuable brand exposure.
PR professionals everywhere applaud the technologically innovative companies that have already established a strong social media presence but warn against slip-ups like that of MTV Australia's. The internet's immediate criticism may have earned MTV Australia a spot in the doghouse but gave us a necessary reminder as we kick-off the New Year. While it is CRUCIAL to contribute to the conversation for fear of being ruled outdated or irrelevant in today’s rapidly evolving digital world, social media users are always encouraged to be cautious and think about the message before submitting a post.