While many companies use social media for marketing purposes, social media channels can also be the quickest way to spread news and updates about a company as well. But because of the wildfire nature of social media sharing, company news announcements must be handled very carefully to make sure they don’t send the wrong message.
Handled well, sharing via social media can both take less time than more traditional news sharing methods and may also achieve greater audience engagement from all generations. But there are a few steps you should think through first before your post goes live. To help, 15 members of Forbes Communications Council share the most important things to remember when announcing any company news via social media.
Forbes Communications Council members share their insights on sharing company news via social media and what you should think about before doing so.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS.
1. Get The Facts Straight Before You Announce
Social media is a great way to distribute news about your company; just remember that before you make your announcement, you need to have all the facts straight. Count on your customers and consumers to talk "back" to you—in a very public-facing way—about what you just announced. So prepare yourself by making sure you are ready to make the announcement and ready to answer questions. - Christina Hager, Overflow
2. Keep Your Social Messaging Consistent
Social media is a valuable marketing and communications channel to reach your target audience. But, it isn't necessarily the right channel for every news type a company wants to deliver. If you use a social channel mainly to engage with your audience in an informal way, posting about the company's quarterly report may be off-brand for the channel. Try to stay consistent in your social messaging. - Tom Wozniak, OPTIZMO Technologies, LLC
3. Be Prepared For A Range Of Responses
Even though the company news may be positive in your mind, someone may spin it in a different way. Decide ahead of time how you are going to respond to positive and negative reactions (or if you are even going to respond). Stay on brand and consistent when responding. - Ellen Sluder, RingBoost
4. Broadcast The ‘What's In It For Me?’
Company news can be exciting for you and colleagues, but if you're communicating it externally then it's necessary to broadcast the WIIFM for your audiences—"What's in it for me?" Your news item needs to answer that question: Why should they care about this news and what does it mean for them? Maybe an expansion means more jobs for their area, or a new product could grow their business, for example. - Adam Giffi, Alexander Mann Solutions
5. Think Through Any Negatives
Have a crisis plan in place for all situations, and one that works even for unexpected situations. If you take time before going public with any information, you can react swiftly. Discontinuing a product? Changing prices? Have responses prepared for those negative reactions and you will come across as smart and effective. - Kat Krieger, Joyride
6. Do Your Context Research
Social media moves fast, as do trending hashtags. It's important to listen and understand which words will and won't work in the context of your announcement on social media. Always dedicate time to doing the research to avoid your clever words ending up in the hall of fame of epic hashtag fails. - Reyne Quackenbush, ThoughtWorks
7. Slow Down And Focus On The Visuals
Rushing any announcement has the potential to backfire or not resonate due to poor messaging. Make sure your social media channels reflect the values and culture of your organization. A poorly worded message could be offensive to clients or socially insensitive. You should also include a visual element to your announcements through video or a branded graphic. This will help increase engagement. - Ahmad Daher, Denali Advanced Integration
8. Keep An Eye On Interactions
Announcing news via social media can be the quickest method to disseminate your message. You must, however, remember that unlike press releases and company newsrooms, social media is an immediate two-way communication channel. You must keep an eye on interaction (sharing, likes, comments, etc.) with your news for several news cycles to ensure you continue to play an active role in the conversation. - Brandi Wessel,Chaparral Energy
9. Consider The Differences In Audiences
Think about what's unique to your audiences on each channel and go from there. For example, as a sawmill, our Facebook audience tends to be landscapers and farm owners, while our LinkedIn audience is primarily buyers for construction jobs. So when sharing updates about our crane mat availability, I'm not going to share this information on Facebook since it would be irrelevant to that audience. - Mary Silva, Riephoff Sawmill
10. Ensure Your Communication Is Complete
Ensure your communication is “complete.” Social media can be immensely powerful to spread information; however, that also means that the information will spread fast. Clear, concise, contextual and factual communication—in other words, “complete” communication—is vitally important to leverage social media's power and also minimize the risk of misinterpretation and intentional misuse. - Andrew Kokes, HGS
11. Determine Your Intended Outcome
Everybody has news. Everyone has something to say and believes their story and their message is worthy of our attention. What do we need to remember before delivering our news? Consider role reversal and deliver the message with the audience needs first. What do you want them to remember? What do you want them to share? What do you want them to do? Don't just "post" news. Be conversational. - Kraig Kann, Kann Advisory Group
12. Be Unambiguous In Your Updates
News spreads fast on social media, but companies must think through what they write. Examine the language and consider any alternate interpretations for the copy used in your social media messages. Avoid being ambiguous or vague in your social media news posts. Explain the point of your message first, then give details. - Kara Cowie, SkillPath
13. Design Your Content For The Omnichannel World
Customize. Use language that best fits each channel and focuses on the benefits of the announcement versus just posting the headline of a press release on all social media channels (e.g. visuals/photos for Instagram, business-focused language on LinkedIn, etc.). Often, we see the same content communicated on different channels and that shows a company or team is not in sync with its audience. - Parna Sarkar-Basu, Brand and Buzz Marketing, LLC.
14. Engage, Listen And Respond Appropriately
Customers are in control. Real-time company challenges and issues can create lifetime opportunities or they can be a public relations nightmare. Remember to have a media plan in place well in advance. Speed and agility are essential in today’s social media world. When announcing exciting news or reacting to negative announcements, remember to engage, listen and respond appropriately. - Fatmir Hyseni, Kosbit
15. Surround It With Support
If the news is worthy of an announcement, it should be accompanied with an integrated approach including the website, blog, potential PR and support materials as needed. Also leverage influencers and key opinion leaders to ensure the news is taken seriously and not spread as fake, and cuts off any potential competitive angles. - Blake Rodgers, SiteLock