Public Relations and Social Media: Do's and Don'ts

Master's in Strategic Public Relations Online

Public Relations and Social Media: Do’s and Don’ts

By definition, public relations are critically important for a business, famous person or organization to manage and maintain public opinion. While social media is often an invaluable tool that helps people and businesses grow their brand, it also poses the risk of harming public relations and a brand’s reputation.

Here are the do’s and don’ts of social media that will aid a business or individual in maintaining a positive relationship with a social media audience.

Do: Strike the Right Balance Between Personal and Professional

According to the Harvard Business Review, social media is a serious risk when personal lives and professional images are not carefully balanced. Connecting with social media followers on a personal level is important, but one careless tweet or post is capable of derailing a personal reputation or sabotaging a brand’s image.

Don’t: Disclose Confidential Information

On social media, internet slang for divulging too much information is known as TMI (too much information). Effective public relations requires eliminating the need to disclose information of this nature.

For famous celebrities, one drunken tweet is capable of doing immense reputation damage. From Reese Witherspoon to Justin Bieber and Charlie Sheen, many celebrities have harmed their reputation with an ill-timed and impromptu social media meltdown.

According to the Wall Street Journal, these celebrity snafus serve up valuable lessons to companies looking to avoid the same mistakes. Company employees represent their employer, not just themselves. As such, it is imperative that businesses create a company culture in which employees maintain an immaculate professional image.

The 21st century consumer and social media user may crave information, but it is imperative to learn about mastering PR and how information is discussed on social media platforms to protect public relations.

Do: Double-Check Your Grammar and Phrasing

It may sound silly, but a social media post rife with errors and typos harms a brand and/or personal reputation. This is especially true if a member of a company’s target audience is coming across the company’s social media profile for the first time.

Mistakes happen, of course, but double-checking phrasing and grammatical usage is a simple but easy way to ensure public relations are not damaged needlessly.

Don’t: Ignore Your Audience

The wonderful aspects of social media give businesses and social media users the unique opportunity to connect with a wide audience. Naturally, this raises exciting possibilities for maintaining a positive relationship with an audience, as long as they are not ignored.

While creating meaningful posts that enhance PR is incredibly important, it is just as important to connect with followers. Engage in dialogue and respond to meaningful questions and comments from social media users. Otherwise, positive and well-thought-out posts may not matter very much. Social media followers may end up feeling ignored by a brand if their comments and concerns are ignored, which actually harms public relations efforts.

These tips are a great launching point toward fostering effective public relations and maintaining a positive image on social media, but there is much more to learn. It is easier to avoid social media pitfalls when you have the knowledge needed to create advanced PR strategies. The George Washington University offers seasoned PR professionals and newcomers alike the online program needed to attain essential knowledge that can further a PR career.