By Erik Qualman
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What actions should BP have taken digitally within the first 24 hours of the spill?
BP should have immediately posted the HD video images and indicated how they were deriving their flow estimates. We live in a fully transparent world and it’s always better to point the finger at yourself rather than wait a few days to have someone else point the finger at you (e.g., Bill Clinton, Tiger Woods, Enron, Lehman Brothers, Eliot Spitzer). This is counter intuitive to how we’ve done business for the past centuries with the legal mindset of trying to keep the bodies buried. However with social media you have to assume the bodies will be exhumed quickly.
What should BP be doing digitally now?
Attempt to humanize BP. They should have flip cameras with their employees down on the Gulf showing what they are doing to help the region. People that work for BP are human, try to humanize BP rather than continuing to be simply a hated logo by so many. Not everyone that works for BP is evil. They should showcase, via video, real people accessing claims to give a sense for the process. Also, ask for feedback, listen and react accordingly.
Rate BP’s online strategy on a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best)
[Score: 4] One good thing BP did was to not overreact and go hard after parody accounts like BPGlobalPR on Twitter that posted tweets like “50% off blackened shrimp today” and “Hey, if you see any oil in the Gulf it’s ours, please return it.” Going hard after parody accounts right away would have been adding fuel to the fire as people would have been upset that BP wasn’t focusing on the important task of capping the well.
Another positive is they have many resources posted on http://www.bp.com and you can also drill down (no pun intended) to specific regions (e.g., Alabama, Florida).
They needed to do a better job of listening to how “big” politically this was becoming and adjust their PR and spokesman accordingly. It’s also not easy to find their social presence (Facebook, YouTube, etc.) on http://www.bp.com
What do you think?
Image: Greenpeace Flickr by Russell Apotheker