PR Planning for When Twitter Goes Down and Other Mishaps
Earlier today, the world went into crisis mode when Twitter was down for almost an hour across all platforms. Brands were unable to tweet their planned daily posts and consumers couldn’t post pictures of their afternoon snacks. A fellow blogger Mandy Hale aka “The Single Woman” was set to have a virtual book signing for her second book, I’ve Never Been to Vegas, But My Luggage Has, earlier today. She has been promoting the event across Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. But as Outkast once sang, “You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather.” Twitter went down the moment her virtual signing began. Whether it’s a live event or a virtual event, you never know what may go wrong, but still have to be prepared.
A major part of PR planning is expecting the unexpected and having a contingency or crisis plan. Crisis communications isn’t just limited to when a CEO misspeaks or there is a product recall. Now, we have to account for online flubs and malfunctions. As marketers, we expose our brands to greater risks when we put them on social media. As Home Depot and several other brands have learned the hard way, one ugly tweet from an agency can have long lasting damage. It’s not just the agencies and community managers that we hire to tweet for us, but also our consumers.
Consumers can interpret advertising and social media posts in a million different ways. Sometimes, they point out things we never even noticed or never intended to be the focus. An example of this is the J.C. Penney teapot billboard that many perceived to look like a not so nice public figure. Whether its retweets or comments on posts, we have to know that not everyone is going to agree with or like what we post. I mean social media wouldn’t be as fun if everyone was nice.
Here are a few tips to help you prepare for those dark days on Twitter and other social media platforms.
1. Listen and Monitor On a Regular Basis
This will help you better foresee when troubled waters are on the horizon.
2. Have Another Way to Reach Your Audience
Make sure you have a back-up plan better than Jennifer Lopez in place.
3. Respond Quickly and Thoroughly
Timing is key! Social media, especially Twitter, is supposed to be real time and your response should be too.
4. Do Not be Defensive; Be Apologetic
Picking a fight with your following would be like David without the sling. Just don’t do it!
This is just a friendly reminder to never get too comfortable in your position and always be prepared for the worst. Mishaps may catch you off guard, but should never been unforeseen or unexpected. From social media to events to advertising, a crisis can happen anywhere and as PR professionals, we have to be ready!