Social Media War Room: What is it, why is it used, and what weapon do I bring?

Social Media War Room (1)

If you’re in the advertising/public relations world, you’ve probably come across the term “war room” more than a few times. Often used as a tactic to launch a new product or campaign, the war room serves as the secret weapon of tactics.

Last week, I had the amazing opportunity of working inside the war room for an apparel company based in west Michigan as they premiered on ABC’s Shark Tank. Here I’ll share the knowledge I gained from that experience to enlighten you all!

First off, what is it:

In the most basic terms, it’s a group of people, in a room together on multiple devices prepared to communicate with the various publics via digital media. In this regard the team is able to manage responses to campaign/product/etc on multiple platforms in order to monitor messaging, share content, and provide service to the various publics.

Why is it used:

War rooms can be used for a multitude of reasons, but most often are used when the company or brand is anticipating or expecting a vast increase in traffic. So examples would be the Super Bowl, the Olympics, or in my case, a Shark Tank debut.

How it all went down:

            The whole process was a blur. Prior to the process I received information regarding the client so as to be able to work with the team. I arrived, along with the rest of the war room team, about two hours before the EST zone episode of Shark Tank was expected to air. The group was briefed more in-depth on the client, received our positions we were to monitor for the evening, and began the countdown to 9pm EST. It felt a little bit like watching the space shuttle launch, and just about as stressful.

I was unsure what to expect. Would they receive traffic? No orders? Or 10,000 orders? Would anyone tweet about it or would we get hashtags trending nationally? No one in the war room had seen the finalized episode (Shark Tank doesn’t allow for that), so we were going in blind as to the final cut. We had no idea how it was going to turn out, but we were prepared for whatever came our way! We had memes and hashtags prepared, outlined responses ready to be sent out for frequently asked questions, and a system in place for handling angry or spam users.

The moment finally arrived and 9:00pm EST hit. We knew that our client was the first pitch to appear, so we were ready to go as soon as the episode started. It was nerve-racking at first, not knowing what was going to happen. I’m pretty sure I didn’t breathe the entire 9 minutes the company was on-air.

It was all a crazy blur. But an incredible crazy blur that I was humbled to be a part of. We didn’t have any major snafus, website shutdowns, or horrible backlashes. The client got a deal from one of the sharks and had a killer night in terms of publicity, brand awareness, and sales.

And to answer the final question that I posed in the title: No, you don’t need a weapons just a laptop charger.


 

Post By: Rachel Berzins

Rachel Berzins small
Rachel Berzins is a senior at Grand Valley State University studying Advertising and Public Relations with a minor in General Business. She is currently an intern at Gemini Publications in Grand Rapids, working Events & Marketing, is the founder of a startup company, Rachel Rosalie Design, and an active member of PRSSA and Phi Mu Fraternity. She is a social media connoisseur, lover of paper goods, and is always in search of a good donut.
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