As social media continues to expand and develop in the new age; PR specialists have begun discussing the importance of twitter in the fields of PR and reputation management.Many brands or celebrities on twitter have already fallen victim to blunders through intemperate or inappropriate posts. In such occasions, PR companies have had to act fast carrying out crisis management, in order to protect their client’s reputation.
In February, the Red Cross‘s social media specialist accidently posted a personal tweet on the companies feed. This tweet related to a night of alcohol consumption; ‘four bottle packs of Dogfish heads we do and beer…when we drink it right’. Reputation Management teams at Red Cross responded fast, with an explanatory post- “We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys”. Following this, ‘Dogfish Head’ retweeted the blunder and encouraged customers to donate to the Red Cross.
Another industry where twitter has proven a risk is football PR. Frustration tweets sent by sports personalities are set to be a rich source of gossip for the media and can prove detrimental to a successful PR campaign. One classic example of this occurred whenLiverpool striker Ryan Babel posted an ‘offensive’ picture of referee Howard Webb after a heated loss. Babel’s crisis management team once again acted quickly, with Babel tweeting an immediate apology to Howard Webb. None the less, this did not stop Babel being rewarded with a heavy £10,000 fine and warning over future conduct.
Therefore, the football industry with such high celebrity status and iconic figures has to tread carefully in the world of twitter. It is proving ever significant that teams involved should be well versed in twitter PR. Arsene Wenger has publically suggested that his team have been ‘spoken’ to about the use of twitter- perhaps this is reason for why no Arsenal players havereached tabloid headlines with inappropriate tweets (not even the outspoken Bendtner).
Another example of how to fail on twitter has been noted of late with Morrison’s supermarket. Morrison’s recently responded to a surge of negative tweets by dismissively tweeting ‘we are sorry to here that people of Tunbridge wells are upset. Please express your opinion via head office’. In response to the influx of tweets noting the apparent grammatical error, Morrison’s tweeted ‘Thank you all for the correction. You are right- it is ‘hear’ not‘here’’. Social media PR experts at PHA Media, a London based PR Agency, are shocked with Morrison’s inaccurate use of the global medium: ‘It is amazing that corporate PR canthink this is an appropriate way to deal with the real concerns of customers’. In this case, Morrison’s tweets have come across as obtuse and uninterested in customer concerns. Instead they should be used to create an active and communicative relationship with customers.
This just goes to show- Twitter is a dangerous PR Tool if used without proper thought and training. It should be an essential part of any media training programme in todays age.