On March 8, 2017, U.S. Embassy Bern welcomed the members of the Bern Public Relations Society (Berner Public Relations Gesellschaft, or BPRG) at the U.S. Residence. Press and Cultural Attaché Stephanie Morimura presented the State Department’s public diplomacy and communications structures. She highlighted how we as the U.S. Embassy Bern coordinate our messaging with offices in Washington D.C., how we deal with press inquiries and how we engage with our audience on social media.
Having roughly 50 communications experts present allowed for a great exchange of ideas and discussion of best practices. When Morimura pointed out that the Embassy “hardly issues press releases anymore, as we publish all our news updates via Twitter with links to our website or Facebook page for more in depth information,” the audience knowingly and appreciatively nodded their heads. The audience was also eager to learn how the Embassy dealt with potential “social media storms” – a high number of unexpected negative comments on social media channels. “We haven’t had such situations very often,” said Morimura, “but we don’t delete messages or block users unless there is hate speech or other incitement to violence; the reason why we engage in social media is to have an open and accessible dialogue with the people of Switzerland and Liechtenstein.”
During the reception that followed the presentation, guests had the chance to talk more about their own experiences and jobs in the communications field and made the most of this networking opportunity. And of course, all impressions were enthusiastically shared on Twitter and Instagram!