Social Media Crisis Management: Three Case Studies
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Social media has drastically changed the landscape of crisis management. With close to 23% of the time spent on the internet on social networks and Google providing three-quarters of a billion search ...

Social media has drastically changed the landscape of crisis management. With close to 23% of the time spent on the internet on social networks and Google providing three-quarters of a billion search results a day, the internet is a giant public library where users have the ease of discovering and spreading information around.

What does this mean to companies facing a crisis? It means that when information released is not contained and acted upon quickly, it can spiral out of control.

This ebook looks at three case studies and explore what we can learn from them for maximum effectiveness in social media crisis management.

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  • Great set of slides, I like the way you get to the points by listing what was done right and otherwise. Thanks for sharing Elisha.
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  • It is really useful case that explains how social media help business to go through a crisis or lead to worse situation; especially from BP case. I think BP was the top line news at that time in every country and we can learn how worse they did through social media to ruin their reputation. Social media is a good tool to keep strong relationship with your customers even end-users, so if a firm break the relationship means they don't want their customers; on the other hand, they are saying that I don't want your friends and whoever has relationship with you. In contrast, if a firm uses it in a right way can not only help a firm to go through crisis also help to get loyal customer and a good reputation. Thanks for sharing!!
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  • Great analyses.
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  • thank you
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  • nice one and thanks!
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Social Media Crisis Management: Three Case Studies Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Social Media Crisis Management Presented By Adonai Training LLP 1 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 2. Table of Contents Content Page Introduction 3-4 British Petroleum 5 - 10 Ford Motor 11 - 18 Nestle 19 - 27 Final Words 28 - 29 About The Author 30 About Adonai Training LLP 31 Contact Us 32 2 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 3. Introduction Social media has drastically changed the landscape of crisis management. With close to 23% of the time spent on the internet on social networks and Google providing three- quarters of a billion search results a day, the internet is a giant public library where users have the ease of discovering and spreading information around. What does this mean to companies facing a crisis? It means that when information released is not contained and acted upon quickly, it can spiral out of control. This is particularly applicable to bad news. A video can reach more than ten thousands of views, an article can be shared thousands of times through Facebook and Twitter all in a matter of 24 hours. Companies simply cannot ignore social media’s ability to aggravate a crisis and the need to harness it when managing crises. 3 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 4. Introduction In this ebook, we will explore the dos-and-don’ts of social media crisis management through an in-depth analysis of three case studies, each from a different industry. We will look at how British Petroleum, Ford Motor Company and Nestle manage their crises and find out what we can learn from them. This serves as a good introduction for any member of the company – from executives to board members, on the basics of know-how on crisis management using social media. For each case study, we will first provide an overview of the crisis on how and why it started and spread. Then we detail the turning points of the crises and the company’s reactions. Here are key learning points of the ebook: 1. British Petroleum Build relationships before a crisis Assemble a social media crisis management team 2. Ford Motors Communicate effectively Delegating a ‘face’ as spokesperson 3. Nestle Train your staff for efficiency Importance of creating a social media policy 4 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 5. The Largest Marine Oil Spill in History BRITISH PETROLEUM 5 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 6. Overview Deep Horizon oil spill crisis started from an explosion in an offshore drilling rig that killed 11 and injured 17 of its workers. Since then, oil has been spilling out into the ocean for a few months before it was finally capped. The crisis was fuelled by the BP’s inefficiency to stop the spill and blaming other parties for the explosion, and made worse by its then-CEO ‘s (Tony Hayward) insensitive comments about the amount of spill being “tiny” compared to the size of the ocean and remarking that he “would like his life back” from the crisis. Social media wise, BP is not new to this concept. It owns a Facebook page, YouTube channel, Twitter account, as well as a Flickr account. However, these tools did not come in handy for BP’s crisis management as BP has failed to harness these into managing its crisis effectively and made it worse by buying search engine ads without first tracking sentiments. 6 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 7. What BP has done… During the crisis, BP constantly update their social media tools to provide the latest information without any form of engagement. However, BP’s voice in social media is drown in the voices of dissenters. Below are the social media tools BP adopts and their fan-base numbers. For Facebook and Twitter, statistics of fan-base belonging to dissenters are also presented. Twitter BP Official Account 18,596 Followers BPGlobalPR 190,561 Followers Facebook BP Official Page 41,069 Fans Youtube Boycott BP Page 6,472 Subscribers 846,608 Fans 7 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 8. Social Media Crisis Management Analysis What BP has done right • Updating its social media platforms Updates were provided on a regular basis on the status of oil spill and clean up. What BP has not done right • Did not build up a strong base BP’s social media fan-base is strong but it’s dwarfed by the size of fan-bases belonging to its dissenters. Hence, even with constant updates, these updates could not create an impact on the sentiments people have on BP. The lack of strong base also means that people are not enticed to back BP up or show BP support. • Failure to engage with fans In their social media platforms, there was no engagement of any kind. Comments are not replies, mentions on Twitter are not done. Such absence makes it hard for BP to build any rapport with fans. • Did nothing to cease or respond to negative comments Instead of replying to negative comments on what BP is doing to rectify the problem, BP tried to get Twitter to shut down dissenter’s accounts. 8 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 9. Social Media Learning Point: Build relationships before crisis strikes Social media helps build up a relationship between the two companies and customers. As a form of buffering your brand’s reputation before a crisis strikes, start forming relationships using it. After all, it is easier to forgive a friend than a stranger when a mistake is made. Having a relationship also means that the company be transparent and honest to their consumers. However, from insensitive remarks, the lack of engagement on the social media platforms and BP attempt to control information about the oil spill, BP has portrayed itself to be not interested in building relationships. Not surprising, data in sentiments tracking shows an upward spike in negative Sentiments when the crisis happened. 9 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 10. Social Media Learning Point: Assemble a Social Media Team Social media is also here to provide a two-way communication between a company and customers. In a crisis a scale like this where lives are lost and livelihoods are severely damaged, empathy and accountability is expected but unfortunately not offered by BP. Assembling a team to man your social media platform is a very important factor in crisis management. Having a team can help with the speed of replying to comments and aid the provision of information. Updating your social media platforms can be automated, but engagement with people on these platforms can’t be automated. At a crisis this grave, you ay want to rotating shifts among your staff to ensure availability of information throughout the day. 10 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 11. The Ranger Station Saga FORD MOTOR COMPANY 11 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 12. Overview In December 2008, TheRangerStation.com, a Ford Ranger fan site managed by a Ranger enthusiast, came under legal fire from Ford for violating Ford’s trademark and intellectual property rights. Ford ordered, through a cease and desist letter to the site owner, Jim Oaks, to pay $5,000 in fines and to surrender the domain name. Oaks has been operating the fan site for a decade and doesn’t have the resources to pay the fines or to counter-sue Ford, hence look to the fan site members for support. Over the next twenty-two hours, Jim’s post received 916 heated responses, most unhappy with how a big company like Ford treats its loyal supporters with such contempt, some mocking this attempt as one Ford adopts to recover its shortfall in revenue. However, unknown to these fans, Ford simply wanted the site to stop selling counterfeit Ford products. The fine and request for the domain name was just a scare tactic employed to stop this sale. 12 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 13. What Ford has done… This crisis was managed largely by Scott Monty, the Global Digital and Multimedia Communications Manager of Ford Motor, using Twitter as the main social media tool of communication. Below, on the left are the selected Tweets from Monty’s account in United States Eastern Daylight Time and on the right are some comments on what his tweet was about. Time Tweet Explanation 1:30am @ScottMonty This is about as bad as PR gets Scott Monty, the Global Digital and Multimedia for Ford right now! Very bad move that’s Communications Manager, received a heads-up tweet going to cause loss of sales. just hours after Oaks story started blazing on the internet. 7: 29am @Jtegner Thanks for letting me know. I’m He checked his account, acknowledged the previous looking into that this morning. tweet, and subsequently started to investigate and rectify the problem. 8:32am Ford makes the front page of USA Today: Monty announced that Ford has been featured in the Ford benefits from CEO's turn to road less media after its efforts for the “Big Three Bailout Plan”. travelled 11: @ContractorTalk I’m in discussion with our Constant replies were also made directed to people who 23am Chief Trademark Counsel about it right now. asked them. He also made use of hash tag to aid in I’m none too pleased. #ford information search regarding the incident. 13 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 14. What Ford has done… Time Tweet Explanation 11: For anyone asking about the Ford fan site and Monty also provided a call-to-action to his followers to 31am legal action: I’m in active discussions with our help spread his side of the story. A total of 19 of his 5, legal dept. about resolving it. Pls retweet.. 600 followers retweeted this message, broadcasting it to a total of 13,400 people. 12:17 @Mdurwin @Voltageblog I'm finding it's a Monty constantly provided updates on the status of his pm much different story from our legal investigation, sometimes direct to the people who asked department... them. 12:29 @Petertdavis It means we didn't get the full pm story from the site owners. There's a deeper issue in question. #ford 1: 07pm Re the Ford fan site: I’m finding that there was counterfeit material being sold on it. Trying to get clarity on the URL issue. #Ford 14 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 15. What Ford has done… Time Tweet Explanation 4:03 p.m. @Psadler And the Model T only got 12 The crisis did not dampen his ability to perform his daily horsepower with a maximum speed of functions of answering queries. 20 mph. 4: 34pm @BrettTrout Please correct that. We’ve Monty is also on the constant lookout for people who are since remedied it. unaware of his progress to tell them about it. 4:55 p.m. @KrisColvin We're not shutting the site He also answers to questions clarifying Ford’s actions for down; we're asking that they stop selling people who have missed his constant updated on the counterfeit material. #ford investigations. 4: 56pm Here is Ford’s official response to the fan His final tweet on the debacle while asking followers to site cease & desist debacle. #Ford Please retweet the message. 25 of his followers responded to this retweet call, retweeting his message to 21,000 more Twitter members. The total time taken for the crisis to start and end was a mere 22 hours and 26 minutes 15 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 16. Social Media Crisis Management Analysis What Ford has done right • Alert was heard early Checking his social media tools early provides crucial time for containment of the crisis. • Make use of existing technologies available in social media tools Monty made use of Twitter’s hash tags to help organize information. • Constant updates It prevents any speculations that may worsen the crisis. • Replies to questions using mentions This ensures that people gets the answers they wanted. • Going to Ford’s detractors Clarifications on their wrong information prevents them from joining the witch hunt, which can grow in large numbers quickly. • Make use of existing networks Using Retweets, Ford’s messages were able to reach a wider scope of people. • Able to perform daily functions The company did not come to a standstill while handling the crisis. Hence preventing more complains about efficiency pouring in. What Ford has not done right • Bringing attention to Ford’s media coverage Such move only bring more attention to their crisis. 16 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 17. Social Media Learning Point: Listen and tell your side of the story After the heads-up, Monty began actively sourcing for the root of the problem, twitting his progress and replying to his followers. Not only that, he was able to tweet about Ford’s side of the story, that Ford simply wanted to stop the site from selling counterfeit Ford products. His listening skills and prompt response certainly saved Ford from further damage and ended the crisis in a mere 23 hours. Always listen to what sentiments are going on with your brand online and engage them to pass on your side of the story. Do make use of free listening tools available online like SocialMention, SiteMention or employ a paid service like Radian6 for a comprehensive review. Remember, never keep quiet. In any crisis, people want answers and accountability. Keeping quiet leaves a gap of unknown for any stories to be filled in. This certainly does not do good to help your situation. Do not disappear off the radar suddenly as well. Such half-hearted engagements will only worsen the situation. 17 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 18. Social Media Learning Point: Delegate a Face to the Crisis Management Team To be able to be an effective communicator, you need to be a listener, researcher, and most importantly, being human. Never lose your human touch, particular in crisis management when empathy is most needed. So what can be more ‘human’ than a real person to represent the crisis management team? In Ford’s case, Scoot Monty served that purpose effectively. He became the person to go to with any questions on the crisis, and hence containing the crisis to a certain extend. Monty was also the right person for the job as he was in a position of authority who could make things right. When facing crisis of your own, delegate a person of authority to be the face to the crisis management team. This advice is also presented by the social media crisis management efforts by Domino’s Pizza and British Petroleum, who both appointed their CEO as the face of the crisis management team. 18 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 19. Facebook Debacle NESTLE 19 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 20. Overview The crisis was sparked off by Greenpeace’s report on how Nestle’s source of palm oil is damaging rainforests in Indonesia. To show their displeasure, outraged advocates decided to adopt altered Nestle’s logos as their profile pictures in Facebook. The crisis was, however, made worst and popular by Nestle’s management of the latter issue about the logos. It posted a status on its fan page telling people not to use such logos as their profile picture when commenting or else their comments will be deleted. Fans retaliated citing that freedom of speech should be respected which has been met with several rude and sarcastic comments from Nestle. This action of theirs brought the attention of social media enthusiasts to pick up the story, trying to figure out the situation, the lessons to be learned, and what should have been done differently. The crisis turned viral. Fortunately, the crisis went viral because of the rude replies, and not so much on the main root of the problem, which meant that the crisis would die down shortly after, which it did. Nestle responded to the palm oil issue by constantly updating its statement, while maintaining minimal engagement with comments on Facebook page . It then ended with an official letter to Greenpeace for future collaboration. 20 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 21. What Nestle has done… In reaction to Greenpeace’s report, Nestle posted a series of status updates on its Facebook page. On the left below shows their daily updates on the crisis while on the right details the number of reactions, in terms of ‘likes’ and comments. The content of these comments include Nestle’s supporters stating their support to the company and reprimanding detractors for their comments on the issue. One will realize that this crisis is still of a manageable size during this period of time. March 17 33 likes, 30 comments March 18 28 likes, 43 comments March 19 7 likes, 29 comments 21 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 22. What Nestle has done… However, in this post on 19th March where Nestle started to be rude in replying comments, the number of comments jumped to a total of 243 comments. The content of the comments were also different. Supporters stop stating their support while many people were slamming Nestle’s public relations team instead of their issues with Greenpeace. The comments in this post date from March to July. 22 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 23. What Nestle has done… While managing the crisis Nestle created for itself on their Facebook page, daily updates were still sent with regards to the status of their palm oil efforts. They have also set up an Q&A site for people to search for answers. These updates were likely to be efforts to manage the crisis that they have created on their Facebook page as the frequency of their updates on this debacle was increased for that day. March 19 18 likes, 41 comments March 19 8 likes, 42 comments March 19 24 likes,128 comments 23 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 24. What Nestle has done… The crisis finally ended with a letter by Nestle. This post attracted many comments praising Nestle for their decision to support sustainable palm oil with some accusing Nestle for pretending to be concerned. 14 April 147 likes, 169 comments 24 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 25. Social Media Crisis Management Analysis What Nestle has done right • Constant updates Daily updates were made to provide accountability to the company’s actions. •Diverting attention from the Facebook crisis Nestle tried to divert people’s attention back to the palm oil issue, which was their primary crisis, by posting more updates than usual, after their post with rude replies went out of hand. •Provided a site for people to look for answers A Q&A site was made as a one-stop shop to answer any queries consumers may have. This move may be made to direct traffic out of their Facebook page, to prevent more participation in their offending post. •Learn from their mistake immediately Nestle stopped replying rudely to comments; in fact, they have stopped replying to much comments. What Nestle has not done right • Being rude and insulting people Whether online or offline, minding one’s manners is basic customer service. • Censorship Censorship is permissible as certain offensive comments should be deleted. However, when censorship equates to stiffening negative comments about a company, that crosses the line and creates a backlash on the company. • Creating a crisis on top of their current one When a crisis is happening, it is always advisable to tread lightly in order not to aggravate the situation. 25 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 26. Social Media Learning Point: Train Your Staff on the Proper Use of Social Media Nestle had a good start on crisis management with their Facebook fans expressing their support for Nestle. However, what Nestle did with replying to comments has successfully created a crisis on top their crisis, and rendered it hard for their fans to show continuous support. Your employees manning your social media tools represent your organization and therefore have the capability to affect your brand image. As such, organizations need to train employees the proper way to use and manage these tools. Having a proper social media policy will provide good guidance to your employees as well. In Nestle’s case, the promptness in replying to comments is applaudable. However, social media is about providing a voice to those who previous don’t have one. Hence, by disallowing dissenters to voice their concerns, you risk looking like a bully. If you must control what is spoken, basic manners should have been observed even if copyrights issue is violated, and never insult anyone, whether supporters or protesters alike, on a public forum. Showing that you are polite and professional even to the skeptics can also help boost good publicity in return. 26 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 27. Social Media Learning Point: Establish a Social Media Policy Having a proper social media policy will provide good guidance to your employees as it provides protocol on responding to comments on your social media platforms. This, however, is not in contradictory to the previous learning point. Authenticity should be presented professionally when you are engaging your fans. This means that while showing empathy, you do not use unprofessional terms like ‘sweetie’, or ‘homie’; instead, you address people by their name. A social media policy will also help prevent any worsening of your situation by human error like what Nestle has done to itself. It also ensures consistency amongst your team of staff manning the social media platforms, therefore portraying a unified brand image. Your social media policy should includes protocols on what can be said and what can’t, when can information be released and basic rules on replying to comments. You may also wish to include how much time is to be allocated to be spend on social media tools. 27 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 28. Last few learning points… I hope you have a better understanding on social media’s impact on crisis management and a few tips of how-to when managing your crisis with social media. Here are some tips on what not to do, just to give you more ideas on how to handle your crisis online. • Be silent when answers are needed People lobbying a crisis usually wants action or answers, to keep quiet is almost suicidal. What’s more, keeping quiet leaves a gap of unknown for any stories to be filled in. This certainly does not do good to help your situation. Do not disappear off the radar suddenly as well. Such half-hearted engagements is liken to adding oil to fire. • Start a blaming game There’s probably a good reason if all facts point at you. As the good old saying goes, honesty is the best policy in crisis management so do not start a blaming game. If the public is mistaken about your company, clarify yourself. • Disallowing dissenters to voice their concerns People dislike a cover-up in crises, even if it means to cover up dissentions. Allow people to voice their opinions on your social media platforms even if they do not support you. Then seek to engage them by sharing your side of the story, or what you are working on to improve the situation. 28 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 29. Critical Steps You Must Take As we come to the end of this ebook, the following are some steps that you must take for effective social media crisis management. • Develop a social media crisis management strategy • Assemble a specialized team for effective social media crisis management • Create a system of governance on using social media and a social media policy • Ensure that your staff are trained in social media How Adonai Training can help you Adonai Training conducts several social media training courses to equip SME business with the vital skills for effective social media crisis management. Please check our website for our range of courses that will be suitable for you and your company. As a compliment to our readers from Social Media World Forum, simple quote the promotional code: ATSMWF2010 to enjoy a 20% discount for all courses. This discount has no expiry date. 29 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 30. About the Author A psychology enthusiastic and social media practitioner, Elisha Tan devotes her time to study the applications of social media and its impact on the social, economy and business arenas, as well as understanding how people behave online. As the Social Media Consultant at Adonai Training, Elisha has been engaging social media as a marketing strategy to clients. Her skills are verifiable; barely two months into the job, she managed to clinch a consultancy project with a major governmental agency. As a hobby, Elisha maintains a blog where she pens down her thoughts and experiences on entrepreneurship and social media. You may drop her an email at Elisha@adonaitraining.com, follow her on Twitter @elishatan or read her blog at www.elishatan.com 30 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 31. About Adonai Training LLP Adonai Training is incorporated in 2010 by our parent company, Ambassage Holdings LLP with specific goals and targets in mind. The vision of Adonai Training is to build people through education and training, bringing and making knowledge available to all corners of the world. We believe that people is dynamic with great potentials yet to be discovered and developed. Our aim is to help our customers to discover their innate potential and develop them to their maximum potential. To do this, we ensure that the team, our principal trainers and our courses adhered to stringent international standards in order to be competitive and to bring values to our customers. Through our programs, we hope to help people discover their goals and fulfil their dreams as they seek to enhance their career prospects or business growth. It is our mission to help you, our customer, to grow and flourish, build a success story of your own. Adonai has gone an extra mile to do more than just educating and training you to be successful. We help to open doors for employment with potential employers or consultancy projects for you to work on where applicable. The aim is to help you cut short your process of searching for a job, to start a new business, or to work on consultancy projects. In Adonai, we aim to make every journey with us a memorable process you will not forget as you walk alongside with us. Your success story is our success story. 31 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.
  • 32. Contact us Adonai Training LLP 28, New Upper Changi Road #09-732 Singapore 460028 Office: (65) 6300-7759 Fax: (65) 6234-0243 Email: contactus@adonaitraining.com Follow us on: Website: www.adonaitraining.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/adonaitraining.sg Twitter: www.twitter.com/adonaitraining 32 Copyright © 2010 Adonai Training LLP. All rights reserved.