When positioning your brand on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you are not only communicating to your target market and current customers, you are also opening the floodgates of communication to the press. A recent study by MyPRGenie found that while 9 out of 10 journalists prefer to receive press releases by old fashioned e-mail, over 50% conduct research on companies by combing those companies’ social media sites.

So, while you are scrambling to build your Triple F score (Friends, Fans and Followers), remember that every comment made or item posted can become fair game for a reporter’s research. This is less of a concern for brands that cater to a young male age 18-34 market, for example, because irreverence and posting viral videos that may be NSFW is de rigeur. The challenge to those of us trying to up our Triple F score is to maintain that constant stream of content while keeping any embarrassing posts from landing in a reporter’s next piece. Many companies don’t consider this until an inappropriate link is posted, and some sort of negative consequence has occurred. The fact is that journalists are very adept at online research and even if a naughty link is taken down, a savvy journalist can find it.

It bodes well for someone on your PR team to monitor your online content. Using social media is an incredible way develop unique relationships with your customers, but keeping your communications on message at all times is key. Developing a content-based strategy is also an important step.

As we mentioned in our previous post, more and more companies are accumulating hundreds of fans but have no clear vision about how to turn those fans into customers. Having a method to your social media “madness” will ensure that your posts have the intended impact. Creating a plan of action for your social media outlets and assigning someone on the team to approve all posts may create a little extra work. But keeping your social media on message will serve the dual purpose of strengthening your presence in the “cloud”, while making sure your posts are in keeping with your communications standards.

As the MYPRGenie study demonstrated, journalists who cover us will most likely troll through our Facebook pages, blog posts and Tweets. While it is important to amass a strong following, it is equally important to make sure your posts are ready for prime time and represent your brand well.