What Home Depot’s Tweet Tells Us About Staffing Social Media

home depot2Once again, a major brand gets in trouble over a tweet. In case you missed it, Home Depot posted an extremely offensive tweet yesterday which they of course then promptly took down and marshaled their PR force to apologize profusely across the media sphere.

Since the tweet was posted by Home Depot’s outside agency, you wonder whether the same people were deployed to apologize as posted the offensive tweet in the first place. It’s really a bizarre world that we live in now where brands pay outside agencies to handle their social media and then have to pay again to field a crisis campaign to apologize for their mistakes.

But, it’s really less a bizarre strategy than it is a result of the short-sighted way that social media is staffed. I wrote here about  lunacy of having interns and lower level employees be responsible for strategically deploying the brand’s message out to millions of consumers every day and in the case of Twitter, to thought leaders in those communities.

In no other part of marketing do we expect  entry level employees to  have the strategic experience to broadcast the brand message without supervision. It’s not fair to the employee and it certainly does very little to help the brand.

headshot newMaryanne Conlin is an award-winning social media expert and CEO of RedRopes Digital, a consulting firm focused on building strong digital brands. You can access her Sept 27 presentation at ExpoEast on Social Media Marketing for Socially Conscious Brands here  and connect with her on Twitter @maryanneconlin

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Content Creation, Curation And PR

As usual, when reading Gini Dietrich’s latest post, I started thinking about the topic (in this case, whether creativity is lacking in PR) and veered off on a tangent as I followed commenters’ links.

On one of those tangents, I read an interesting quote in an article by Danny Brown, titled Lack of Real Vision is Stalling the PR Industry. While I was not fond of the title of the post, I did find an interesting quote:

Ken Eudy, CEO, Capstrat: “The PR firm of 2017 will increasingly help its clients become publishers and broadcasters… communicating directly with stakeholders without having their messages filtered through traditional media.”

This vision of the PR firm as not one that “gets the word out” but one that gets closer to crafting the word that gets out… gets sort of to the point, but just misses. Brands are already publishers and broadcasters, in their advertising efforts.

From a PR perspective, what brands need help with is getting a new legion of publishers to broadcast their message for the brand. This means working with publishers of all sorts of new media….blogs, YouTube videos and Tweets, as well as, Facebook posts, texts and several new publishing ventures that we have not thought of yet.

This quote gets to the meat of how to successfully do that.

– Maril MacDonald, CEO, Gagen MacDonald: “The successful firm of 2017… will be interested in relationships, not transactions. It will think about the long-term strategy, not short-term tactics. It will add value through a technology-driven collaborative dialogue…”

But, both quotes miss the role of the vastly greater number of curators, those that take the content developed by the publishers and amplify it on Pinterest, or Twitter or on their own blogs, many of which feature more curated information than created.

Approaching curators and content creators is not so different than traditional, relationships matter. It’s just…there are a LOT more relationships to develop in the new world of PR!

For our clients we use a mix of third parties who maintain relationships with key content creator and content developers. They bring us new opportunities as they develop their business models. But we also create client specific relationships with key leaders in the category in which they operate and they too bring us opportunities to promote the brand through events, activities and new relationships with other brands.

PR in the digital world is not so different, in terms of relationship building to build a brand. What’s different is the sheer number of players.

Maryanne Conlin, CEO of RedRopesDigital likes maintaining relationships especially when they lead to good conversation and good food.