In the growing and ever-changing world of social media, everyone can be a reporter, and everyone is potentially an interviewee. Media training and spokesperson training has always been part of a strong public relations and outreach program, but the growth and proliferation of social media channels has made it more important than ever.
This training begins with a knowledge that every post or tweet you make is a reflection of you and your brand. What may begin primarily as a personal way of commenting has grown into a way of allowing your online audiences to get to know you and the organization you represent in an ongoing and much more in-depth way.
Therefore, we find ourselves doing more all-inclusive media training of corporate executives and organizations than ever before. First and foremost, it is important to be aware of the broad potential reach that social media engagement has – beyond the people you primarily want to reach. Just like interacting with mainstream media, your messages reach people you don’t know and who don’t know you. So carefully crafting how you want to be perceived is important.
The phrase “everyone is a reporter” is an understatement. Social media has empowered everyone with a smart phone to record their own content and to have their voice heard. Everything you say or do can potentially reach very broad audiences (beyond those you intend to engage).
It is critical for you to understand the likely audiences reached through various social media channels and platforms, target them appropriately and engage with them in positive ways that reflect your desired branding and positioning within those audience segments.
Investing in social media training not only provides education and guidance about what to post as well as when and how to post it, but it also allows you to be able to appropriately respond to comments and questions in meaningful, positive ways, depending upon the particular platform and audience. Further, it teaches you how to effectively utilize live feeds, as well as how to develop messages that can be tailored for both narrow and broad audiences.
We (always) advise authenticity, honesty and quality over quantity (just as we would in working with mainstream, traditional media outlets). These are exciting times in which to grow your brand and your various platforms, to reach broader audiences, and to control your messaging.
However, it all begins with the recognition of what social media has grown into over the past few years and then training yourself and your organization appropriately to be able to respond as well as to initiate meaningful dialogue with both targeted and broad-based audiences.