Hughes PR

Three social media stuff-ups

Earlier in the week, we shared some classic examples of where media interviews or press conferences have gone wrong.

Today it’s social media’s turn – proving that media training is just as important in the digital media world as it is in traditional media!

Two of the social media stuff-ups to talk about happened just today! News travels fast. I read about this one this morning on photography website PetaPixel, and this is a great example of how things can snowball on social media. Nikon posted on their Facebook page “A photographer is only as good as the equipment he uses”, which prompted a huge backlash from their dedicated Facebook community.

Nine hours after Nikon posted that status update, the post has over 2,000 comments, and many more on the main Nikon page. Many photographers are disappointed at the comment, asking questions like “is a chef only as good as the stove he uses’?! It’s a great example of how a few poorly-chosen words can generate a huge negative response.

As of writing, Nikon hasn’t yet responded to the comments on Facebook…

The next example also happened today – it’s trending on Twitter and gaining momentum as I write! And it’s for this reason that I should mention that it’s all alleged – and the company hasn’t yet made an official statement. Gasp Jeans, a clothing retailer in Melbourne, was sent a letter by an unsatisfied customer and it appears they could have resolved the issue quickly and quietly behind closed doors. Instead it seems they wrote a letter in response that was – well, extraordinary. You have to see it to believe it.

The customer went to social media to express her disgust at the way she was treated by Gasp – and in the words of Melbourne Weekly – created a “social media sensation”.

Gasp needs to act on this and act quickly – yet it appears they are furiously deleting negative comments on their Facebook page (I’ve seen the comment numbers go up and down like a yoyo!) and not saying a word. Hoping it will all go away? Can’t wait to see how this one will play out!

The moral of the story here? There are no barriers to content on social media – you need to remember that any communication from your brand (such as a letter) is legitimate material to be analysed by the entire world on social media. A private one-on-one conversation with a customer is no more – “one impression turns into a million impressions so you better make sure those impressions are the right impressions”!

While it didn’t happen today (!), finally we have a classic example that highlights the need to remain genuine when communicating in social media.

Hugh Jackman was in Sydney promoting his new film, when an update appeared on his Twitter feed reading: “Having lunch on the harbor [sic] across from the Opera Center. Loving life!”

Hugh Jackman TwitterThe media were onto it – surely Jackman would know the Opera HOUSE and use Australian spellings for his tweets? Jackman had to issue an apology and put the mistake down to dictating the tweet to a staff member in the United States. But alarm bells rang with Jackman’s followers – if it wasn’t him writing that tweet, how would they know he wrote all the others?

These examples show the need for brands who are using social media (and even brands who aren’t – brands may never know that these conversations are happening online if they’re not monitoring it, or being part of it!) to know their audience, be honest, and be genuine.

Make sure you head over to the training course page on our website – social media training can provide your online company spokesperson with the skills to manage online communication while staying true to company branding and objectives, and knowing how to deal with issues and complaints online.

Update (Friday 30 September, 7:30am): Nikon have responded. Calm seems to have been (largely) restored on their Facebook page!

Further update (Tuesday 15 November, 2:45pm): The Gasp social media issues continue, with a new article on Mumbrella today claiming that Gasp was caught astroturfing throughout the controversy. In our opinion, a big PR no-no!

Hughes PR is a communications and public relations consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

Standard
Media, Media training, Public relations, Social media

Three classic media stuff-ups

Today, we’re sharing some classic examples of where media interviews or press conferences have gone wrong. If you’ve ever had media training you know that looking at “what not to do” can be as insightful and educational as learning and practising the good behaviours.

First up, you would know that not many professional sportspeople are known for their insightful, unique and intelligent media exchanges. Those that do well and stay away from clichés are few and far between. But this example is really extraordinary (click through to view). St George Illawarra Rugby League player Darius Boyd delivers monosyllabic responses at a press conference. The club apologised after this exchange, and I bet Darius Boyd was straight off to media training!

Next up, our interviewee has clearly been told that he has to mention his key message, and stay on message. And boy, does he take this advice seriously. Alvin Greene gets his key message out – and then stays right on message. There’s no wavering here!

Finally, those who are used to media interviews, in which case they might take them a little less seriously than they should. This example shows how you can’t afford to be distracted during a media interview – no matter how comfortable you are with the situation. A Canadian Mayor-Elect Rob Ford conducts this radio interview while doing two things at once – and fails to win over the interviewer, or the audience, in the process!

Later in the week, we’ll share some “what not to do” examples from social media. These days, interacting with the media isn’t just about being interviewed directly – anything you tweet or put up on Facebook is fair game for journalists to use too – even if you don’t think you’re in contact with the media they may nonetheless be following you and your content.

Until then, make sure you head over to the training course page on our website – time to prepare yourself or your company spokesperson for the next time you need to communicate with the public using either traditional or social media.

Hughes PR is a communications and public relations consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

Standard
Media, Media training, Public relations

Going it alone – 12 tips on how to deal direct with the media

Catherine Bauer writes…

Australian journalists are increasingly used to going through “media spokespeople” – either public relations consultants or in house communications managers in order to get information or quotes. They are also well used to receiving news and information via a PR practitioner, media adviser or media manager – so many names for what is essentially the same role.

This has been the case in political circles and the world of large corporates for decades, but the use of third party interfaces between the media and smaller organisations, groups and individuals is now also happening more often – perhaps not surprisingly in a world where a wrong word or misconstrued answer can very quickly go global via social media and the internet.

Many media consultants were once journalists themselves and understand the whole news process.

As a journalist for most of my professional career and now working in PR, I can say that whichever side of the communications coin you work on, there are plenty of similarities. Both journalists and PR practitioners have to understand what makes news, who the audience is and what it cares about. And both professions must issue news and information that is accurate, honest and transparent – that goes for anyone making or distributing news.

Having said that journalists are now used to making a communications practitioner their first port of call, or are used to receiving news via a consultant, there are still smaller organisations, groups or individuals who want to approach or deal with the media on directly without using a third party.

Here are a few key tips for dealing with and maintaining media relationships for anyone wanting to go it alone:

1.    Never waste your own time, or a journalist’s, with a story or an issue that really has no news value, credibility or interest to the wider community. Be honest and seek other valued opinions if you’re unsure.

2.    Know and really understand what your “story” or “issue” is and what it is you want to say.

3.    Keep your message clear and as concise as possible and show how it will make a difference, add to debate or current knowledge, improve people’s lives or entertain.

4.    Don’t feel nervous or fearful about contacting a journalist. They want your news.

5.    Unless it’s a massive or important story – don’t ever make your first approach on deadline – unless it really can wait. A general rule of thumb is not to contact a newsroom in the late afternoon.

6.    Try to match the media outlet to the type of news you have.

7.    Forget trying to set up a face to face meeting “for a chat” over a coffee. Modern newsrooms are busy places and few reporters have time for “chats’ – unless they are going to leave with a concrete story or lead.

8.    Send an email outlining your story or issue or send a clearly written, one-page media release – no typos – with your name and contact details and tell the journalist you will call soon to follow up.

9.    Make sure you have thought of picture or “vision” opportunities to illustrate the story.

10.    If you don’t hear back first, call back the following day to discuss and find out if they received your email. If the reporter really isn’t interested don’t push the point and don’t be precious in rejection. You’ve started the relationship and if you keep sending reliable, accurate and newsworthy media releases, you’ll eventually get results and will be seen as a “good contact”.

11.    Never ask to read or vet a story before it’s aired or printed – trust is a two-way street.

12.    Once you’ve established a rapport with a journalist, maintain and foster the contact by keeping them “in the loop” with any further news or developments.

Hopefully these tips will give a little confidence to those who decide to go it alone and take their newsworthy story, issue or opinion to the media and help ensure some success.

– Catherine Bauer

Hughes PR is a communications and public relations consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

Standard