Not so long ago – my colleague, friend and co-author, @DavidTaylor kindly created a Guest Blog sharing insights related to effective media relations and brand protection. Media Relations and Brand Protection in a Social Media Age.

Being prepared for any kick back on social media is now critical. social media guidelines, social media relations, social media advice

And yet, organisations often go about sending communications to their audiences without considering the question – ‘Is this communication likely to get any
‘kick back’ in the social media space and if so what ‘lines do we take’. Seems simple enough – but let’s just break this down:

  1. The social media communication channels require a watchful eye and speed to response. Therefore, you’d need to ‘man up’ the resources for watching, listening and responding during. If you know you are expecting some recourse – then you’d be watching and listening to what’s happening and responding as quickly as possible.
  2. How to respond? What are the official ‘lines to take’? Have you got some key personnel on hand to act as the ‘Press Officer’ into the social media community team so that they can a direct link to be able to query any specific issues? Or have you pre-prepared official statements from the CEO (or other relevant responses) – so that you have questions to answers, or responses to kick back from an official source.

Recently, I was witness to a campaign where social wasn’t considered – and without naming names or going into too much detail – here’s what happened.

Case Study:

Company A needed to communicate a change in their policy to their audience (about 60,000 people). The changes to the policy were quite complex and could easily have been misconstrued.

A rather lengthy (as it had to be due to sector regulations) was communicated via mail to their audience. With the call to action to call if there were any questions. The call support team were briefed in to deal with any questions.

The mailer hit.

The social media community management team didn’t know anything about it!

Kickback on Twitter and Facebook (usual places people use for complaints, comments etc) started happening. Lots of anger was vented at the changes.

The social media community management team very quickly realised that these were not one offs and quickly realised, due to the scale of kick back, there was clearly some mass communication that had hit.

The team dealt with it in a professional way – and very quickly got to grips with the bigger picture.

Created a direct line of comms into the senior leadership team so they too were briefed in on ‘lines to take’ – bringing clarity to some of the elements that had clearly been misconstrued and pacifying an angry audience.


The social media team – front line voice of the business, were not made aware of the communication.

We see this happening all the time – lack of ‘joined up’ communications leads to confusion, frustration and in a social and transparent space – can make an organisation look plain stupid.

Had they been informed – they would have been prepared with lines to take, knowledge about the likely questions to respond to.

  • Communications have to be joined up. It’s as bad as sending out a marketing promotion and not telling the front line telesales team about it. When someone calls talking about the promotion – the telesales person is left thinking ‘I don’t know anything about this’. Poor.
  • If you are sharing key news – be sure that everyone who needs to know about it, knows about it.
  • Ask the question – do we expect any ‘kick back’ on this – and if so – prepare ‘lines to take’.
  • Ensure that front line team have a direct link into senior comms/management so that they can quickly access any specific information they may require.