By Hannah Treat
Working on campus is a typical job opportunity for most college students, whatever university they might be at, but you don’t always get to work in an area that is dedicated to your major. Personally, I have worked in housing and the music department. Although they are both great job opportunities, they are not public relations focused. Entering my senior year, I started a new job position at the Elliott Student Union at the information desk and their promotions team. Finally a job that caters to my major!
Typically when I tell people I work in two different areas for the Elliott Student Union (ESU) they look at me like I’m crazy, and they may be right. But I’ve also found that they pair together really well. Working on the promotions team is where I perform the most public relations work. I get to help take and create social media content, whether that be a photo, flyer or a graphic. One of my favorite projects was getting to create all the physical and digital content for a new project about coffee that the Union implemented to engage their target audience and students to increase awareness for on campus coffee shops. Was I terrified having so much free reign, absolutely! However, the experience was such a fun way to get more insight to something I could actually be doing in the real world.
The best part about working on the promotions team is how much it benefits my other ESU position at the information desk. My responsibilities at the desk aren’t as exciting as my work in the office. I answer questions that any guest in the Union might have, as well as run the print stop. The tasks for this job aren’t what is challenging, engaging with students and other visitors is the harder part. We are the face of the ESU. When people come up to the information desk, they expect me to have all the answers. I honestly think working at both positions has helped me truly understand ESU, what type of events they host and what resources they have or house.
Sometimes I feel like I’m juggling too much, and working at an on campus job is too much, but then I remember the benefits. The obvious is having a schedule that is built around my classes. I KNOW that isn’t the same for off campus jobs. Then there are other perks. As a PR professional, it is important to look at your key audience, for the ESU that is primarily students, and know how to message to them. Being a student myself I have a bit of insight, but getting to work face-to-face with our audience on a daily basis at the information desk, I get insight to what students want and expect when they enter the Student Union.
An opportunity I didn’t see walking into this job is perfectly illustrated in the article ‘The Benefits of On Campus Jobs During College’ that says, “Many students who seek on campus employment are able to grow their networks this way, leaving them with more career opportunities after graduation.” Every PR student knows it’s all about networking. Through my job at ESU, I have built relationships with Grad Assistants and staff members, who have connections throughout Warrensburg and other local areas. Knowing that they have seen my work ethic at not only one job, but two, makes me confident that when I graduate, I can turn to those professionals for potential recommendations or jobs.
I never thought I would find a job on campus that would truly help me prepare for post-graduation life, but working at the Elliott Student Union has given me that opportunity.
The Benefits of On Campus Jobs During College. (2015, April 15). Retrieved from https://gentwenty.com/on-campus-jobs/
By Emily Thole
It is officially March, one of the most exciting months of the year. This month brings forth multiple things to look forward to. March is a time to celebrate Women’s History, St. Patrick’s Day, spring break, and one of the most exciting and authentic events in college athletics: March Madness.
March Madness is a historic event that involves 68 of the best college basketball teams in the nation, matching up for a chance to compete for the NCAA Men’s Division I National Championship. There will be excitement. There will be upsets. There will “edge-of-your-seat” moments. And behind it all, there will be moments where public relations plays a powerful role in the game of basketball.
When you look at March Madness, there are a few things you can take away from the game that also apply to the public relations profession.
- Teamwork makes the dream work.
Most teams don’t rely on just one player to win a game. Each individual plays a specific role to help achieve an end goal. That may be defense, shooting threes, or cheering from the bench.
Public relations works the same way. Each person in an organization must keep the end goal in mind by understanding client needs, publics, objectives, strategies and more. Team members must know their role to keep the project on task and consistent. If someone doesn’t complete their tasks, they may hinder the end result.
- Believe in comebacks.
In basketball, anything is possible. Your team may be down by 20 points, but with heart and persistence, they can still win the game. In PR, sometimes it may seem like your organization can never come back from a crisis. No matter how hard you push ahead, something keeps pushing back
Understand that although your organization may fall, you can stand up and keep pushing until the buzzer sounds. Your game plan may need to change and adjust as the crisis occurs, but maintain a winning attitude and strategy, and you can come out on top.
- Practice makes perfect.
Each team wants to win a national title, but unlike other teams, UCLA is used to the applause. The school has won 11 national championships over the years, but they still keep pushing to get be better. They could settle with their glory, or practice to achieve more.
As a PR professional, you must polish your skills in order to stay on top of the game. Industry trends, media, networking and more are changing daily. Practicing and polishing your skills can only make you a better PR professional for the future.
Each of these points proves that the game of basketball and the business of public relations have a lot in common. Just as in March Madness, making it far in the PR industry is not guaranteed, but with the right preparation and mindset, your organization can create their own Cinderella story.
By Amanda Ferrin
Although you may not be considering working abroad, intercultural awareness is essential for anyone in the PR industry. Whether you’re interested in working in the corporate sector or a nonprofit, understanding the global market can greatly enhance your career.
This past summer, I had the opportunity to do my internship for a tourist company in Costa Rica. It was a terrifying experience that forced me to step out of my comfort zone. Here are some of the things I took away from it:
1. Knowing English is vital, but learning a second language is important
Considered to be the language of business and technology, English is the most spoken language of the 21st century. There are over 1.5 billion global speakers around the world! However, recent data from the United States Census Office suggests that the nation will have an estimated 138 million Spanish speakers by 2050, which would make it the largest Spanish-speaking nation.
Because our world is getting smaller and more diverse, many employers are looking for bilingual people to work in their PR/communication departments. Although you may not be able to travel abroad or take language classes, there are many free apps and websites, like Duolingo, available for practicing your language skills.
2. Successful communication isn’t always with words
Although I was translating marketing materials from Spanish, my actual Spanish-speaking abilities are limited. There were many instances where I had to use hand gestures to convey what I was trying to say. Smiling and showing confidence is key in those situations. Whether there is a language barrier or just a communication gap, stay aware of your non-verbals, which are vital in making a positive connection. This is especially important when you’re interviewing or meeting with clients.
3. Learn to look outside of your own cultural lens
When you are living in a certain location for a while, it’s easy to forget that not everyone is exposed to the same things as you. Your organization may be targeting a large demographic of people who have diverse interests. It’s vital to consider how things will be perceived by your audience.
Although we are taught everything in PR is deadline-driven, I found that to be less true in Costa Rica. Living by the phrase, “Pura Vida”, Costa Rican culture is laid back. The World Cup was going on during my internship and my co-workers actually stopped working to watch the game. If you ever partner with an international company, you may find yourself adjusting to different cultural norms.
4. Research, research, research
We are told to do this all the time as students, but it’s so important! I don’t know many people who use WhatsApp in the U.S., but it’s actually the most popular messaging solution in the world. Nearly 1 billion people are using it and everyone was using it in Costa Rica. Don’t assume that what’s popular at home is popular somewhere else. Do your research! You may have to utilize social media platforms you’ve never used or sell a product that’s not well-known in the U.S.
These are just a few of the lessons I learned during my internship. Whether you choose to stay in Missouri or move to the other side of the world, having intercultural awareness can give you the capacity to develop meaningful relationships with new, diverse audiences.
By Jessica Gough
The Span of Social Media
It is no secret that social media is taking over the internet. In fact, over 77 percent of the U.S. population uses a social media profile regularly. That is 2.34 billion sets of eyes just waiting to be captivated. As a company, those eyes are extremely valuable to your success. So how do you attract them to your content?
What is a SMM Plan?
A social media marketing (SMM) plan allows an organization to detail what they would like to accomplish within the realm of social media. Along with these broad goals, a SMM plan also outlines what actions the organization will take in order to achieve these goals. A variety of benefits come from a social media marketing plan, so it is important to ensure your organization is taking advantage of this opportunity.
The SMM Planning Cycle
It is important to understand that, like social media itself, SMM plans should continuously evolve. In order to maintain a successful plan, it is crucial that your SMM plan evolves with society. These nine steps will help guide you through creating your SMM plan.
What is your brand’s current social media presence?
- Setting Goals
Analyze your organization using SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis. What realistic goals does your brand want to accomplish?
- Defining Strategies
Use the “8 C’s of Strategy Development”. What strategies will help your brand reach its goals?
- Identifying the target audience
What are the needs of your target audience?
- Selecting Tools
What tools will work best for your strategies?
(hashtags, SEO, link shortening, images)
- Selecting Platforms and Channels
What platforms will reach your target audience best?
Put your plan into action!
Track you progress, and COLLECT DATA.
This is a constant and continuous process.
Creating and monitoring a strong SMM plan will allow you to connect with various audiences in a familiar way. This connection can lead to numerous advantages for your organization.
By Jasmine Scott
Here’s a painfully honest peek into the life of a full-time college student, who also works remotely as a part time PR Professional for a non-profit organization.
7:15 a.m.: My alarm clock goes off.
I’d love to tell you that I hop out of bed with an abundance of energy and joy, but I said this would be honest. So, I hit snooze on my alarm clock…two more times.
7:30 a.m.: I roll out of bed and check my email.
I am subscribed to several news reporters, so this is my version of reading the newspaper. It’s very important to keep up with news in the PR world. PR is a quick moving industry and it’s important to keep up with what’s going on in your community as well as the world.
After I’m up to date, I brush my teeth and throw on a coat (it’s winter now). I make sure everything is in my backpack, grab a bottle of water out of my fridge, and make my way to my 8 am class.
7:55 a.m.: I sit down and pull out my notebook. I check my email until the professor starts his lecture and make a mental note of what I have to do this day. Spoiler alert: I have a lot to do.
8:50 a.m.: My only class of the day ends, and I make my way back to my apartment to get the second part of my day started: work.
9:00 a.m.: I clock in and check my email. I usually only have about 10 unread emails in my inbox, some of which are just funny memes to put everyone in a good mood. I read through everything and update myself on any information I miss working remotely. I respond to the funniest memes first. After that, I email my boss and update him on my projects.
10 a.m.: I make a to-do list of everything I need to accomplish before I clock out. The list usually goes something like this:
- Review recent Facebook posts
- Schedule Facebook posts
- Check email again
- Scour through thousands of photos and stories sent to the company I work for
- Check email again
- Start blog draft
- Plan out LinkedIn posts for the week
- Check email again
- Eat lunch at some point?
10:30 a.m.: It’s prime content creation time. I work for a non-profit company, so our posts are created to be ‘donor-centered’, which means that donors and investors are our target market.
I start creating new content by reviewing our Facebook posts. I see what posts our donors are interacting with and what posts are doing well or poor. Next, I look through our photobank for and start planning out posts in my head. After some creative thinking, I start creating posts. Finally, I schedule it and repeat the process.
1 p.m.: Did you hear that noise? Yeah, it was my stomach growling.
It’s time for lunch. So, I quickly make a sandwich (turkey and cheese with mustard, obviously) and continue working.
1:05 p.m.: I notice I have 4 unread emails since I last checked my inbox. I read through those and continue on with my day.
1:30 p.m.: Coffee.
After I eat my lunch, I tend to lose my focus. This is when I hit my mid-day slump and need to change my focus. I make a cup of coffee and switch my focus to the blog.
The first step of writing a good blog post is having a strong and compelling story to tell. Luckily, we keep track of the stories sent to us by our donors and partners. I read through the stories, sip my coffee, read through a couple more stories, and sip my coffee. I repeat this until one story particularly catches my eye. After picking a story, I start the first paragraph of the blog. I write it, pause, read it, erase the whole paragraph, and start again. Yes, this exactly how it goes almost every time. But I preserve and finish my draft. I email it to the writer I work with and wait for her edits.
4:30 p.m.: My boss randomly Facetimes me.
5:00 p.m.: I should clock-out, but I can’t. My to-do list isn’t complete.
The last thing I need to do for the day is plan out my LinkedIn posts for the week. This really depends on what’s going on for the week. Some weeks there is a huge event coming up, so I center my posts around that. Other weeks, I make posts based off what else is going on or even any amazing stories we have. I write down the posts I want to make this week and plan them out.
5:30 p.m.: After checking my email one last time, I clock out for the day.
5:31 p.m.: I open my fridge and make a snack. Probably a Hot-pocket.
6:15 – 8:30 p.m.: This is usually when I have meetings for different organizations.
9:00 p.m.: I’m tired, but my day isn’t over yet. In fact, it’s just beginning.
I open my agenda book and go over my schedule. I open my school email and see if my teachers have emailed me (they have). I respond. I open Blackboard to see if my teacher’s have put any grades in. I begin my homework.
I love being a PR major because my homework mostly consists of writing, creating content for mock clients, and preparing presentations. A PR Pro must be deadline driven, even in college. I don’t miss a deadline.
10:30 p.m.: Have I eaten today?
Yeah, I have. But I’m hungry again. I know you aren’t supposed to eat big meals before you go to bed but…it’s only 10:30 and I’m still doing homework. So, I usually eat. Most of the time it’s super healthy and definitely not a bag of chips.
10:31 p.m.: I open a bag of chips. Hey, I’m just doing what I can to make it to graduation.
11:30 p.m.: If at all possible, I try to give myself at least 30 minutes of relaxation before I go to bed. Sometimes I’m being productive until 2 am, but I try not to be.
I love working remotely because it’s helping me get one step closer to my goal of being a PR professional after I graduate, but it definitely takes focus and balance to get everything done. Every day is different. But it’s worth it.
By Emily Jarboe
Graduating college and venturing out into adulthood can be a rollercoaster of emotions. It’s terrifying, intimidating and exciting all at the same time. As if leaving college wasn’t scary enough, then there’s the pressure to secure that first job after graduation. Say goodbye to student discounts and hello to a 401K.
Most people plan to apply for jobs once they get out of school, but I made it a personal goal to land a full-time job before graduation. From teachers and career centers to job fairs and internships, there are so many resources to take advantage of that will no longer be available once I leave. Since I was so proactive in the job search process, I was able to land a job before graduation. Here’s how you can too:
Perfect Your Resume
Your resume is your big chance to catch a potential employer’s attention. This is where you can brag about your incredible work experience or highlight your summer internship. It’s a place to showcase your skills and all the hard work you put in during your time in college. I would recommend a clean, easy-to-read design that is tailored to fit your major. Be consistent with the spacing and choose an appropriate font. It’s also important to have several different people look at your resume to get a variety of feedback. Visit your college or university’s Career Services Center where they can assist you in creating a resume that stands out from the crowd. Most importantly, keep updating your resume and continue to tailor it to every application.
Internships Are Key
An internship, whether during college or after, is a great way to gain real-world experience in your career field. It also can help you establish important relationships and connections with company professionals that can be very beneficial for your future career. The right internship can lead you to a full-time position, so choose wisely when searching for one. Personally, I believe that my internship gave me the opportunity to learn a lot about myself and pushed me to step out of my comfort zone. Plus, employers are much more likely to hire someone who has completed an internship rather than someone lacking real-work experience.
The Value in a Career Fair
There are so many benefits to taking the time to attend a career fair. One of the biggest benefits is the opportunity to network with potential employers. Many students believe it’s easier to find jobs online. While that might be true for some, I believe you have a better chance of landing the first interview when there is an opportunity to speak one-on-one with a company representative. I attended three different career fairs during my time in school, and each time provided me with the chance to practice interviewing. Approaching a potential employer can be intimidating, but by the third or fourth time I became comfortable and was able to make some valuable connections. Dress in professional attire, bring 20 copies of your resume, and take advantage of this free networking opportunity.
Cultivate Relationships with Your Professors
I’ve always tried to keep good relationships with all of my teachers because you never know what kind of doors they can open for you. One of my professors helped me land a job interview that otherwise would not have been possible without her assistance. She recommended me for this position, which gave me a significant advantage over my competitors. I ended up receiving a job offer, and I wouldn’t be where I am in this process without the help of my teacher.
The most important takeaway from this post is to remember to trust the process and don’t get discouraged if you don’t receive a response right away. Good things take time and it’s important to be patient during the job hunt. I applied for several positions in the beginning and didn’t hear back from anyone until a week later. Take your time and enjoy the process. Don’t be tempted to take the first job offer you receive. It’s okay to be picky and wait for the position that is the right fit for you. Lastly, don’t neglect your LinkedIn account. Keeping up with LinkedIn can help you get noticed by future employers and recruiters.
Endless opportunities are waiting for you, so go out there and get them. Good luck and happy job hunting!
By Nickey Buzek
“Can I see some of your work?” You may have a wealth of experience and the skills to back it up, but if your abilities aren’t coming across in an easy-to-access fashion, you may be missing professional opportunities. Here are four tips that will make your online portfolio showcase your skills:
- Choose the right platform – There are a multitude of providers dedicated to helping you build a website. Some of them include Wix, Squarespace, and web.com. You’ll want to do your research and make sure their platform aligns with your portfolio goals. If your public relations skills are focused on design, for example, you’ll want to choose a platform that lets you be more creative with visuals. If your skills lean more toward the written aspect of PR, you’ll want a platform that showcases verbiage.
- Choose a design – While each of the providers mentioned above will give you suggestions on funky templates, there are two basic designs that are proven to enhance user experience (UX). The F pattern is used for websites with large amounts of content. Wikipedia is an excellent example. Notice that important headers are on the left and description information flows to the right.
This makes it easier for the user to locate information and understand the organization of the page. The Z pattern, however, is the pattern you’ve probably seen most often. It uses four main spaces for important information: the top left, top right, middle, bottom left and bottom right. This pattern is used so often that internet surfers are quickly frustrated when they can’t find important information in its “natural spot.” Using the Z pattern will cater to user’s natural search.
- Showcase your skills – While your portfolio is a reflection of you as a person, the purpose of the website is to showcase your skills. Refrain from making your homepage a giant picture of your face with a bio attached. Chances are, if someone’s already on your portfolio website, they’ve already met you. Have your homepage showcase the different areas your skills cover. Include clickable images or links that take them to more in-depth examples and explanations.
- Create a visual guide – The aesthetics of your website act as the user’s road map. Manipulating content size, color, groupings, and contrast will help the user understand what content you want them to look at first. Large items and bright colors will be seen first, and items grouped together help the user see what items go with one another. When creating your visual guide, it’s helpful to have someone look at it who has a third-party view. How they navigate your website will more than likely be how others navigate your website.
Designing a portfolio that’s easy to use, aesthetically pleasing, and easy to navigate is a daunting task when you’re just trying to meet the needs of people asking to look at your work. Just remember, your portfolio is meant to showcase your skills in an easy-to-navigate fashion. These four tips can start you on the path to success, but don’t hesitate to take a deeper dive into the world of website design!
By Emily Thole
*Warning. This post may contain spoilers about the hit TV show, “This is Us.” Proceed with caution.*
“This is Us” is the television show everyone is telling you to watch. It is full of happiness, anger, sadness, joy and every emotion in between, however, there is one monumental episode that you can’t forget. If you’re anything like me, this blog post will bring up a flood of emotions, so get your tissues ready.
As avid viewers of the show, we all know where we were when Jack died. Yes, I’m bringing up that heartbreaking moment. I was sitting with my roommates on our red leather couch in the living room, staring at the small screen with tears rolling down our faces, full of disbelief. This man fearlessly saved his entire family from a house fire, and then went back into the blazing building to rescue his daughter’s dog and a few personal items, only to wind up valiantly perishing. He was a hero, and then he was gone. Not because of burns, or an injury that was visible, but for having too much smoke in his lungs. This is the drama that keeps viewers coming back.
What does this tragic scene have to do with public relations? Well, after the episode, fans were boycotting one particular brand, and because of that, they had a crisis on their hands.
One thing I didn’t mention was how the fire started in the Pearson household. It was a Crock-Pot. The faulty slow cooker is accidentally left on and it starts a fire in the family’s kitchen, which leads to the entire house burning down, and later, Jack’s demise. Fans of the show immediately took to the Internet to share their heartbreak and frustration over the episode and the Crock-Pot brand. Their name was disgraced, and their stock plummeted, but Crock-Pot’s response to the crisis is one PR professionals can learn from.
First, Crock-Pot responded quickly. They released a statement less than 24-hours after the show aired. And shortly after they sent out a news release stating facts about their products to ease consumers’ minds that can be read fully here. Not only that, but they created a Twitter page called “CrockPotCares” to respond to viewers who were concerned about product safety, and throwing away their Crock-Pots.
Crock-Pot did a great job of listening to consumers’ complaints. They understood that people were upset, and they did their best to respond with understanding to build back their image. They even created the hashtag #CrockPotIsInnocent to use in their responses to defend their brand.
Good tweet to consumer https://twitter.com/CrockPotCares/status/956258200239706114
Help from Star Power
Although this was a crisis they didn’t see coming, Crock-Pot wasn’t afraid to ask for help when getting their image back. They used the actor who portrays Jack, Milo Ventimiglia, in a commercial promoting the Super Bowl, joking about the Crock-Pot controversy. “The Late Show” host, Stephen Colbert, mentioned the issue on his show, stirring up conversation. Ellen DeGeneres even partnered with the company to hand out Crock-Pots as one of the giveaways on her show. Each of these people helped Crock-Pot restore their image.
A crisis can pop up at any time. Companies must be prepared in case a television show uses your product to kill off a beloved character. In a time of crisis, PR professionals can use Crock-Pot as an example. Although the situation presented on screen was fictional, Crock-Pot responded successfully and recovered quickly because of the crisis plan they had in place.
Crockpot even got Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) to make a video joking about the crisis as a whole (https://twitter.com/CrockPotCares/status/959789384785715200)
Their own hashtag #CrockPotIsInnocent
Stephen cobert https://twitter.com/CrockPotCares/status/958022381741764609
Good tweet to consumer https://twitter.com/CrockPotCares/status/956258200239706114
By Kylee Julian
Getting an internship always looks so easy in the movies. You just choose a business, go inside and apply, then poof you get it. The next day you are getting coffee and bagels, then a month later you’re the CEO. Sounds easy. Right? Well, I learned very quickly that if I wanted to secure an internship, I would have to hit the ground running and apply, apply, and apply again.
Finally, Staley Farms Golf Club accepted me as part of the team as the summer public relations intern. I worked with a few different departments in the overhead company to ensure that everyone was on the same page and that things run smoothly. I worked with the head of marketing, Abby Crowley. Abby and I developed flyers, social media flyers, videos, and other marketing efforts to advertise upcoming events and changes being made to the club. I also worked with the head of events and food and beverages, Kayla Adams. We worked together in preparation and tear down for events, walkthroughs to show the space, working with other companies to get needed items for events and managing events as they take place.
One thing that movies were right about is that interns can work long hours. Working 10-12 hour per days doesn’t sound too bad until you are doing it multiple times a week. Now, it wasn’t all bad. I got to meet some amazing people and learn a lot from different parts of the job.
There really wasn’t a typical day on the job. Over the internship, there were multiple events each week, all dealing with different items. Whether it was setting up a tournament or working with a bride, each event required a lot of coordination and each taught me different lessons, which will benefit me in my professional career. Sometimes you have to work with athletes or colleges hosting tournaments at Staley. The internship came with many fun-filled days, and new experiences. There were days where I got to make centerpieces for large events. Then there were other days where I got to meet and greet pro football players and help run their tournaments. It was always something new and different.
After spending some time reflecting on my education, it is clear that several classes helped to prepare me for this internship. My design and writing classes helped with the marketing side of the Golf Club. My PR law class gave me knowledge about how to look up city ordinances to help make certain the Club was operating in accordance with local regulations.Courses on strategic planning and strategic communication helped me in the day-to-day work, giving me the tools to be able to successfully brainstorm in a large group. Also, during staff meetings, I was able to successfully present and give visuals in order to make a point and better communicate the projects in which I was involved.
An internship gives you the opportunity to learn more about working in a particular environment. I learned a lot about myself and my work ethic. I learned how to multitask in a whole new way, and work with new people every day. I enjoyed the fast-paced atmosphere and getting to work with different departments.
I hope everyone gets the chance to learn as I did in a real-life setting and to make the connections with the kinds of people I experienced during my internship. Internships are a constant reminder that the expert in anything was once a beginner, and if you learn and apply yourself, you can accomplish anything.
By Jasmine Scott
How a company handles a crisis is more important than the crisis itself. Crisis management builds a reputation and showcases company values. Social media plays a vital role in crisis management as well as the general perception of the brand. It’s a constantly updated instantaneous way to receive information and give an opinion. While your consumers are using social media to share their opinion, why not use it to share yours?
A common mistake that companies make is labeling social media as a form of promotion and then setting it off to the side. The reality, however, is that social media is THE way to communicate in 2018. Consider, for example, the role social media played during the 2017 United Airlines crisis when David Dao was extracted off a plane. United Airlines needed to remove four passengers from an overbooked flight. Airline staff kindly asked Dao, but he refused because he had to work at a hospital the next day. Airport security was called, and Dao was forcefully taken out of his seat and dragged down the aisle, only to result in a bloody mess on his face.
Passengers recorded the entire event with their cell phones, and within minutes, the incident involving United Airlines went viral. It happens that quick, and the effect is long-lasting. Despite a year passing since this incident, United Airlines is still working to rebuild the poor customer service reputation they have created.
Fortunately, not all companies are suffering from a bad viral video. Coca-Cola has a social media strategy and they show it off. The company has an entire section of their website dedicated solely to their social media strategy. The most endearing part is the five social media commitments as an organization: transparency, safety, respect, responsibility, and monitoring. All of this content is in plain view and easy to find, a true example of transparency.
How do you use social media to your advantage? Be prepared. It sounds obvious, but it should be obvious. Create a strategic plan that prepares, prevents, and protects your company from a case of bad social media engagement. Let your customers know that you hear their complaints and that you’re working to fix it. Embrace the mass two-way communication. Apologize, tell your story, be humble, and reinforce your values. Interact with your customers with their questions and face it head-on. There’s no hiding from any situation when social media is this relevant in business.