Insights & News

Should You Announce News On Social Media First?

If you’re a communications professional, you’ve probably heard this question in the last year:

Should our brand announce news on social media?

You’ll probably hear the question again, too. Breaking news on social media is an emerging trend that’s likely to stick around. There are some key benefits:

  • The brand can share their message directly with fans
  • The brand decides exactly when and where the news is posted first
  • The brand maintains direct control over how the news is worded
  • The brand can provide calls to action alongside the news

Before you break news on social networks, ask yourself the following questions:


Do people really want to know about your news right now?

Breaking news on a social network makes sense when people are actively waiting for your news. For example, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (otherwise known as William and Kate) announced their daughter’s name via Kensington Palace’s Twitter account.


Would your call to action perform better if it were shared online?

Breaking news on a social network also makes sense if it will lower the barrier to action for your audience. Of course, you need a large enough audience that your news will be seen. For example, Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy via Twitter, leading people to check out her website where they could watch a video.

As a side-note, she also put out a press release.


Does it make sense for an individual to break your corporate news?

Breaking news on social media also makes sense if your brand is interested in having an executive break the news personally. You can tap into the thought leadership or credibility of your executive and reach their audience directly. A recent client example: Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillion used his personal Instagram account to announce Walmart’s new $25 million commitment to support organizations in disaster recovery efforts worldwide.


If you break news on social, amplify your news with traditional public relations tactics

More often than not, breaking news on a social network is step one of a multi-step process. Take our example of our recent work with Walmart:

After the news broke on Instagram, we worked with Walmart to amplify the news in an integrated way. We did put out a press release to bring even more visibility to the news and we executed upon more traditional media relations tactics to secure great news coverage. We were proud to secure nearly 530 placements for this news quickly after its launch.

Some best practices:

  • Have a plan for how you will amplify your news after it breaks on social media.
  • Weigh the best platform to announce your news. Where do you have the most followers? Where does your target audience live online?
  • Make your message clear. You may only have 140 characters to deliver your news.
  • Provide a clear call to action to move your audiences to learn more or take a desired next step.
  • Follow up with online audiences and media to keep the momentum from your news.

What do you think about breaking news on social media? Share your thoughts in the comments!