Dec 15, 2023 - Business

Managing reputation on TikTok is key to staying on top of viral trends, crisis expert says

Crisis communications expert Molly McPherson at Axios Communicators event in NYC on Dec., 14, 2023. Photo credit: Steven Duarte on behalf of Axios.

Misinformation can spread faster than facts, and corporate reputations are often at the mercy of social media algorithms.

Why it matters: Crisis communication plans must be able to quickly address any falsehoods and amplify the positive viral moments.

The big picture: News consumption habits are changing as audiences flock to social media for news and information instead of print, television and radio.

  • Roughly one-third of adults under age 30 regularly scroll TikTok for news, a 255% increase since 2020, according to new Pew Research Center data.

What they're saying: "The heartbeat of public opinion is TikTok," crisis communication expert Molly McPherson said at the Axios Communicators event on Dec. 14.

  • "So if you're not on paying attention to that content, then you're missing out because that's where the information and viral trends start."

Zoom in: Audience expectations have also shifted.

  • Consumers increasingly want to engage with brands or companies directly. They want to see and know the people behind the brand and no longer trust nameless, faceless corporate statements.

The bottom line: The press, fixers, lawyers and PR firms can't control public opinion. The masses on social media control it.

  • "Traditional media used to control most of the narrative, but now the public, when they mobilize together and quickly, have such tremendous power," Molly McPherson said. "That's what's changed."

Go deeper: Communication leaders explain the value of reputation.

Go deeper