Social PR Savvy: POTUS Does Streaming Town Hall from Facebook HQ

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There was a blaring message for enterprise in the President’s live stream Town Hall meeting at Facebook yesterday, and it had nothing to do with politics: if you aren’t taking social media seriously, you are behind the eight ball.

I don’t mean having a barely maintained Facebook page or a Twitter account on which you endlessly promote yourself. I mean the kind of engagement that Obama pulled off rather brilliantly (whatever you think of his content) by taking his outreach, not just online, and not just into the social sphere, but straight to one of the key hubs and engines of modern community. Questions from the sharp techie audience. Questions from the broader audience of Facebook users. Live. Interactive. Devoid of visible fear. For folks who think that an ad posted on YouTube is a sign of engagement, this should be a great big screaming wake-up call.

Of course, I’m not suggesting that we all need an invite to Facebook HQ. What’s key here is the attitude, and again, from a PR perspective that has nothing to do with the politics. While some large corporations are leading the way with innovative social media engagement, many others are still fumbling along, hindered by bureaucratic structure, confusion, and fear. And as the pace of technological innovation only increases — leaping ahead into a world of simultaneous hyper-personalization and hyper-interconnectedness — the cost of lagging behind can only match it.

I saw a complaint going around this week on Twitter about how PR people are ruining social media because their work on it so often focuses on the medium as just another way to blurt out the pre-designed message. And, sadly, that’s still a stage of “engagement” that many businesses are only just now reaching. But imagine a public relations strategy that put your company at center stage, with a fearless demeanor, highly focused, trained, and fully prepared to interact on-topic and with passion. It wouldn’t guarantee a win — but it would be a declaration that you are in the game.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kate Schackai
Kate combines a technical understanding of web 2.0 with classic PR savvy, resulting in online communications that both humans and Google love. She joins Crawford from WordPress development firm TCWebsite, where she worked in online marketing and search engine optimization.

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