Finding a social media response to current events

As social media channels and messages become more critical to companies' reputations, corporate communications experts discussed how to respond to breaking news on platforms like Twitter and Facebook on Tuesday at the PRWeek Conference in New York.

As social media channels and messages become more critical to companies' reputations, corporate communications experts discussed how to respond to breaking news on platforms like Twitter and Facebook on Tuesday at the PRWeek Conference in New York.

To promote Madden 25, EA Sports had San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick bet Seattle Seahawks counterpart Russell Wilson that the loser of their matchup on Sunday night would shave off an eyebrow.

It used its social media channels to provide a minute-by-minute update of the game, which Kaepernick's team ultimately lost. After the game ended, headlines focused not only on its outcome, but the lost bet as well.

Beyond being a good way to draw attention to the company, David Tinson, VP of integrated communications at EA Sports, said the strategy also provided insight on the importance of a company weighing in on breaking news most important to its stakeholders.

“You have to evolve your narrative based on what's happening in the real world,” he said.

However, when deciding whether to weigh in on a more controversial topic or breaking news like a terrorist attack or mass shooting on social media, Lockheed Martin turns to its most important asset to help it decide.

“Your employees are a good litmus test on what will play well, as many of them are users of social media,” said Kimberly Jaindl, social media manager at Lockheed Martin.

The experts also discussed how to determine the success of a social media post. At EA Sports, a bunch of “likes” or shares is not enough to determine positive impact.

“We have to at least frame it against something, like is that number more than we got last week or year or compared with similar content that was posted,” said Tinson.

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