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When something goes well, we want to celebrate success – these are the things we build careers around. But what if your objective is stopping things from happening?  “No news is good news. I can proudly report no updates. The status report is blank, again.”  This brand-reputation aspect of public relations is an intriguing challenge, and requires a certain mind-set to deliver, day-in day-out.

A picture of nothing

Celebrating… nothing

Of course things have been spiced up in recent years, as social technologies have supercharged the speed and scale by which “bad news” can travel. However, if managed effectively, social media can also be a hugely beneficial weapon in the brand manager’s armoury.

Tools such as Sysomos and Conversocial are great for identifying and engaging with negative situations, but aligned to this must be the right individuals with the right skills, and support. “Do we reply, do we wait, do we try and make light of the situation, do we issue a humble apology?“… all classic PR management questions, but brought into even greater focus (and time pressure) under the spotlight of social media. The right snappy response could just see the problem go away, but it could worsen the situation.

In summary… social media is massively useful for safeguarding your brand online, but only if you’ve invested in the right people (plus technology and processes).  It’s less of a science and more of an art-form! When reviewing the ROI of social media, don’t forget to include the value “of nothing”.

What’s your favourite example of a social media save? It’s my former employer, but I still love this one about Hulk Hogan and a chicken sandwich.

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