Social media’s influence on PR statements and spokespeople

By Matter

Expert commentary and company spokespeople are the most sought after resources media members search for on a daily basis. They need information straight from the source to craft their story and give it validity. In the past, PR people have typically been the gateway for media to access celebrities, spokespeople and official company statements. As all PR pros are well aware, this relationship and landscape has changed, and that’s mostly due to the rise of social media.

More often than not, companies and personalities alike take to Twitter or Facebook to address issues and concerns surrounding a relevant topic. You’ll hear “Tiger Woods released a statement via Twitter this morning…” or “CNN received an official statement from the company’s Facebook page this afternoon…” While most prominent in the world of celebrities, social media has now become the ever-present medium that is changing the way PR pros counsel their clients to both act and react.

One of the most important things to take into account is how to move forward with day-to-day social media tactics and strategies when something, either negative or positive, is prevalent in the news. Whether it’s about your company or not, should you address it on social media, and then move forward with other content? Do you go dark for the rest of the week? Each individual company and person is different, but many companies have recently been under fire when their social media voice isn’t sensitive to what else is going on in the world. While companies used to be able to fly under the radar on certain topics, now, if they have a social media presence, they’re (most often) expected to address controversial topics before moving on.

Reporters still like interviews and sources, and companies still release statements. This has not gone away. The way these statements are being released, how and to whom they’re being released, have all evolved. The methodology in the way we approach all public statements will continue to be important, as a company or person’s social media voice and reputation is now just as central to their brand as what they say directly to the media.