Are You Ready for a Real-Time Marketing and PR Crisis?

social media book reviews“Marketers no longer have control.” Have you heard this before? Maybe you’ve lived it firsthand?

Social media has enabled people to rapidly swarm—creating monsoons that can cause serious damage to your business OR create serious opportunities if you’re ready.

The upside to real time goes way beyond crisis management. Real-time firestorms can create once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for businesses that are prepared and can quickly respond.

In this article, I’ll review what you can do right now to prepare for your next real-time situation.

What Guitars Can Teach You About Real-Time Marketing

Have you heard of Dave Carroll? If you haven’t, watch this video called “United Breaks Guitars.”

United Airlines refused to treat Dave fairly. So he created the above video out of frustration. Now more than 9 million people know how poorly United Airlines treated Dave.

If you Google “United Airlines,” you’ll see Dave’s video comes up on page 2. Translation: This one act is now etched into the annals of time and won’t go away anytime soon.

Simply said, it was a PR nightmare for United Airlines. Take a look at this article to see how poorly United responded.

What does any of this have to do with you?

David Meerman Scott in his new book Real-Time Marketing & PR explains in his opening paragraph, “Speed and agility are essential attributes in today’s marketplace. And yet even as the timescales on which we do business compress, most businesses almost always operate slowly and deliberately.”

How would you have responded if you were United? Are you really ready to respond to a real-time crisis, the moment it arises?

Fortunately David wrote a book on this topic. And the story only starts with Dave Carroll.

A few smart companies, including Taylor Guitars, took quick advantage of the growing firestorm. Check out the video response of Bob Taylor, founder of Taylor Guitars (posted 4 days later, and viewed 500,000 times).

How to Prepare for Real-Time Opportunities and Threats

There a lot of simple steps you can take to be ready when a real-time situation arises. Perhaps the easiest first step is to get your hands on David Meerman Scott’s new book Real-Time Marketing & PR.

Here’s my quick video review of the book:

The following real-time marketing tips come straight from David’s book:

Engage in the midst of the crisis: Real time does not operate on a 9-to-5 schedule. Your organization needs to be monitoring and ready to respond around the clock, as the crisis is occurring.

Use Twitter as your real-time communications tool: The media will be monitoring what people are saying on Twitter. This gives you an opportunity to join in on the discussion in real time, providing an insider’s perspective.

Establish relationships with journalists BEFORE a crisis happens: Reach out to influential journalists in your industry. Follow and respond to them on Twitter, comment on their articles and send email introductions. Hopefully they’ll follow you back on Twitter so you can send them direct messages if a crisis occurs.

Don’t just sit back and think, “This will never happen to me or my company.” If you have that mentality, you’ll be ill-prepared when (not if) your marketing monsoon occurs.

Do you have firsthand experience dealing with a real-time crisis (or a real-time opportunity)? What did you do? What tips would you add? Please leave your comments in the box below.

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About the Author, Michael Stelzner

Michael Stelzner is the founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner, founder of My Kids' Adventures and author of the books Launch and Writing White Papers. He's also the host of the Social Media Marketing podcast. Other posts by »




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