In this series from IABC’s Professional Development & Content Committee, we unpack industry trends and share insights that you can take on-the-go.
Has crisis comms found its niche on TikTok? Nearly half a million users seem think so.
At a Glance
When TikTok launched in September 2016, it was embraced by younger generations as a space to consume entertaining content (think dancing, lip synch challenges and comedy sketches). In the nearly eight years since its debut, the social network has boomed and become a cultural phenomenon for users of all ages.
Scroll the For You Page (FYP) and you’ll be served a deluge of content tailored to your interests, from cooking, to sports, parenting, international news — and even crisis communication and PR.
Crisis comms has gone mainstream via TikTok, in part thanks to Molly McPherson. Dubbed “TikTok’s Favorite PR Lady,” McPherson has wielded the attention of nearly half a million followers with more than 7.1 million likes on her content.
Applying her more than two decades of experience in the field, she’s built a library of 300+ videos dedicated to crisis communications, PR and reputation, told through the lens of pop culture. Name a celebrity headline and chances are McPherson has covered it, from the Taylor Swift-Travis Kelce romance to backlash toward Jada Pinkett Smith’s press tour and more.
What This Means for Communicators
While the average communicator’s work isn’t driven by tabloid drama, a lot of what McPherson shares can be applied to any industry, whether it’s her apology framework or analysis of the exact right (or wrong, depending on your perspective) time to release a statement. It certainly doesn’t hurt that she offers these lessons with an entertaining hook that most can relate to. Scroll through the comments in any one of her videos and you’ll find something to the effect of “Am I a PR pro? No. Do I still watch these until the end? Yes.”
Bite-size content on platforms like TikTok was hailed as a must-watch trend by the IABC Trend Watch Committee in 2022, noting that communicators must meet the next generation where they are. McPherson is an embodiment of this notion and a prime example of how to find your niche — or make space for it — on new and emerging social platforms.
Further Reading and Resources
Do you follow McPherson or other comms pros on TikTok? Have you been building your organization's presence or dabbling in other video content? Drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us more.
Kristin Frankiewicz is the IABC content manager, based in Chicago. Learn more about IABC and the team at www.iabc.com.