Why all high profile individuals could benefit from social media PR support

We've all done it.

We have all sent an email or a text that we later regret or that we send to the wrong person in error.

It's part of the hazard of this super-connected digital world that we live in.

Social media has made things a lot more complicated because it's instant, it's public and it's far more difficult to make instant amends.

Prime Minister David Cameron was once very disparaging of those who used Twitter but even he is dipping his toe in the social media water, aware that to get messages across swiftly to both the media and the general public, Twitter can be a great vehicle.

It will be fascinating to see what he writes and whether he uses any support staff to edit or sensor anything that may be contentious.

It's no coincidence that on one of the most publicity-hungry and well controlled PR machines - the X Factor show - judge Gary Barlow did not tweet his dismay at the elimination of one of his contestants.

Barlow has more than two million followers on Twitter and stormed off stage in disgust after the decision but there was no rant, no fuel for the media at his apparent sense of injustice. 

And yet it is amazing how many high profile individuals in equally well-oiled organisations tend to make such huge social media errors.

We've seen a couple of instances in recent days where Twitter has got high profile sportsmen into trouble, underlining the importance of using PR companies to review such posts before they go public.

Ashley Cole was furious about the Football Association’s report into the accusations of racism by Chelsea team-mate John Terry and had to quickly delete a Tweet venting his fury at the governing body’s analysis of his testimony. 

We all get angry at times and the temptation to publicly lambast those who criticise us makes Twitter a perfect vehicle for an instant reaction.

Cole has now been charged for his outburst and his club have said that they too will take action. It doesn’t help his reputation regardless of his feelings about the report that he disagreed with.

He follows former England captain Rio Ferdinand, who was also charged and fined for venting his fury at off-field football developments.

Likewise, McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton, who has gained a reputation for being occasionally hot-headed, criticised his team mate Jenson Button on Twitter over the weekend for ‘unfollowing’ him on the social media network.

He later had to backtrack when it became clear that Button hadn’t followed him in the first place.

Such as reaction simply gives credence to the rumours that the McLaren drivers do not speak much when surely picking up the phone would have been a better course of action.

Hamilton has not learnt from previous mistakes on Twitter, having posted a photo of sensitive car technology ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix recently.

The fact is, it is easy to make mistakes on Twitter and indeed on Facebook.

With the world’s media watching your every move, why provide fuel for ‘stories’ when focus should be on the reason why you got to where you are in the first place.

It may seem condescending to adults that they may benefit from the support of PR experts to ensure their social media output does not hand unwanted stories to the media or general population.

But when comments come through suggesting that there is no need for a parody account, so rich in indiscretion is the celebrity’s bona fide account, something is not right.

Calacus works with a number of large organisations and individuals, providing general and online support.

Sometimes we tweet on a client’s behalf and on other occasions they run things past us to check that there are no negative connotations.

Good PR consultants live and breathe language.

It is our job to minimise controversy for our clients – most of the time.

The most innocent of comments can sometimes cause embarrassment and it’s part of our job to ensure this is avoided.

As the world becomes more connected, as the use of social media even convinces cynics such as David Cameron, can those in the public eye really afford not to benefit from the support a good PR consultant can provide?