Spokespeople – navigating the social media tight rope

Spokespeople – navigating the social media tight rope

Megan Dennison

Megan Dennison

Social media has become an indispensable tool for companies seeking to communicate with their audience. Yes, those little apps on our phones aren’t just for sharing memes anymore – they are now a powerhouse for companies trying to get their message out there.

When thinking about PR, an important part of a company’s communication strategy is how its messaging may be received across different social platforms, i.e. can anything said be misconstrued, offend or come back to bite you in the a$$?  The platforms are designed to be so simple that with the click of a button, a carefully crafted statement can reach millions of people worldwide. However, the power of social media hosts a new set of challenges, particularly for the spokespeople tasked with representing their companies online. It can be a minefield!

With increased visibility comes a heightened level of responsibility. Spokespeople must be wary about the content they share on their personal channels, as their actions reflect not only on themselves but also on the company they represent – yes, even if you state on your X bio ‘these are my own thoughts, not of the company I work for’. One ill-advised LinkedIn post can quickly spiral into a PR nightmare, damaging both personal and corporate reputations.

Something that many public figures get scrutinised for is authenticity – or lack of. Authenticity is crucial for building trust and rapport with the audience, but it must be combined with discretion to ensure that messages align with the company's core values. Before posting anything on social media, spokespeople should consider the potential impact on the company's reputation and seek guidance from communications professionals if necessary.

And let's not forget about engagement. It's not enough to just throw out a few posts here and there, spokespeople have got to be in it to win it. This means responding to comments, answering questions, and showing their audience that they’re listening and engaged. This will in no time help establish a strong following.

As much as social media has strengthened companies’ ability to communicate with their audience, it has also introduced new challenges for its spokespeople. But by leveraging their personal social media channels, being authentic (but with discretion) and creating meaningful personalised posts, spokespeople can effectively navigate the social media landscape while representing their companies in a positive way.

As ambassadors for their organisations, spokespeople must understand the power and pitfalls of social media and wield it responsibly to push forward their company's objectives while maintaining their personal credibility.

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