Jeff Domansky, The PR Coach, just published an article titled Toxic Waste Gum Recall Leaves Bad Taste.

I’ve spoken about the risks of being on social media, and in recent times we’ve seen with BP and Chrysler, how social media should be taken seriously. It is a platform for you to communicate with your clients, but more importantly, for them to communicate with you as well as each other.

Its Twitter account @ToxicWasteSour was virtually inactive. It had no tweets in 2011, only four posts in 2010 in October, and just 10 sporadically in 2009. No mention of the product recall was made in 2011 and it had only 82 followers and followed 73.

Sometimes we get on social media thinking that it will be one more platform for us to promote our product. But it’s much more than that. If you let your presence stagnate, you’re likely to encounter heat. Customers loyal to a brand want to hear from their brand first and others after, when it comes to a problem (which in this case was high levels of lead in gums). It’s about trust just like any other interpersonal relationship.

Social media has allowed brands to make personal connections with individuals. They no longer have to deal with being an inaccessible nebula. But there is a responsibility that comes with it.

Recommendations

As far as the social media strategy goes, I have one recommendation. Don’t get into it, unless you can budget it in. You need someone to take care of the social media presence, and if you can’t afford it, don’t risk it. Also include social media in communicative strategies for times of crisis. Do this well, and do this often. How do you do this well? Think in people terms. Come up to the level of the individual, instead of staying on the side lines. Step up, rep up.

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