My experience spans crisis communications and protecting reputations for a number of well-known names as well as long-term reputation and brand-building, and producing engaging day-to-day campaigns and communications activities.
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Bridget Aherne > Latest News  > Flowers and a steak bake?

Flowers and a steak bake?

An engaging story told well is at the heart of effective communication and something I saw today reminded me how tools and tactics change but a clear message always remains the essential ingredient.

Video now makes up the majority of the web – a picture is worth a thousand words – but it is the story it tells that is key to engaging people.

This tweet by @laura_myers demonstrated to me this morning that, while we can wrap all kinds of channels and tech around a conversation, it is the message itself that matters.

Laura used no pictures, no video and didn’t need to write a thousand words. She observed the behaviour of a man at the airport, boiled his behaviour down into one tweet and added her own hint of humour.

Within 72 hours, her tweet has received more than 200 replies, been retweeted more than 7,300 times and liked by nearly 35,000 people.

Not bad a bad reach and influence for someone who only has 530-ish followers – I’ve managed social media accounts for some big organisations and not achieved numbers like that with one sentence.

So, what worked about Laura’s tweet?

  • It was based on something real. She wasn’t theorising or giving an unevidenced opinion. She saw something and said it.
  • She said it in a human way. She used her own language – referring to the man as a fella – and was authentic, adding her hint of humour advising other lads it was the right way to treat their partner!
  • She did it in the moment with the tools she had. There was no arty picture or little video. Just a few words. Done
  • She knew her audience. Her observation is probably influenced by knowing the north. The tweet jumped out at me because it sounded like the height of northern romance to me too!

A nice feature is that Manchester Airport added their voice to the discussion in a human and humorous way. They could’ve ignored it or been annoyed that their brand wasn’t tagged in or named properly – instead they’ve taken the opportunity to reflect the mood of everyone else involved and, while a small win, helps contribute to long term reputation-building.

I’ve been advising organisations for years that to be effective on social media you need to be social – see what I was saying in 2012 here.

Bridget Aherne

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