The BP oil spill showed how individuals now have tremendous voice compared to what was formerly available to them to protest a major corporation.
BP was unprepared to face a spontaneous social media storm. Imagine if a campaign had been planned and executed in a coordinated fashion by professionals against them.
Today, I read an interesting article by Jeremiah Owyang, in which he interviewed Greenpeace’s online marketing and promotions specialist, Laura Kenyon. Greenpeace has actively taken to social media to protest corporations including Nestle and BP.
I also recently read a post by Augie Ray, “The ROI of Social Media Marketing: More than Dollars and Cents,” in which he addressed social media from a few different perspectives. Specifically he suggests metrics consider the financial, risk management, brand, and efficiency perspectives. In other words, has your social media increased revenue or decreased costs? Has it made your company better prepared to respond in times of crisis? Has it improved the value of your brand in the eyes of consumers? Has it improved the ability of your employees to communicate with one another and with customers?
If a company is conservative and hesitant to ‘participate’, then it ought to at the least be monitoring the conversations, identifying where its customers are online, what they do online, and they should be establishing accounts on the major networks now so they can respond or engage when needed.