14 responses to “What BP Should Be Doing With Social Media

  1. Social Media can primarily be a tool for positive change in the world (if focused on people and the truth), or a tool for continued harm and destruction (focused on corporations and exploitation). You might start by not referring to the current destruction of the Gulf as a “spill!”

  2. Very nicely written post. I especially like the bit about “pointing a finger at yourself”. And I will be sure to recommend that as a sound social media strategy to my clients.

  3. Totally agree with the idea of humanizing the company. It’s really easy to hate a big company that did something wrong, but if you see what real people is doing trying to fix such a big problem, the perspective totally changes: from BP (company) causing the error to BP (people) trying to help.

  4. The ethical guideline I’ve taught to college students for years (which, I’ve recently learned, is the one Warren Buffett uses) is this: Would you want your actions to be front page news tomorrow in your hometown, where friends and family will read it?

    Social media is the new hometown newspaper.

  5. Great Information on the power of social media and reputation management. Indeed it’s a powerful tool that far too many big businesses fail to understand.

  6. In South Africa, there seems to be a culture of this kind of ‘lets try and keep it a secret’ mentality amoungst corporates and government. The reasons probably have something to do with the fact that, in most cases, the majority of the population have very little interest in what’s going on in the world, unless it has something to do with their earnings and the right to strike. This, and the reality that access to the internet is reserved for a very small % of the population, due only to the lack of infrastructure and prohibitive cost of having an internet connection (trust me on this one).
    This has all led to Corporate South Africa becoming really good at hiding their ‘corpses’… until now. The soccer World Cup has forced the government to invest in infrastructure and the appointment of new, independant, network operators has meant that as access to the internet has become more wide spread, Social Media has become the new ‘buzz word’! This has given South Africans access to a relatively unknown media format (Social Media) and let me assure you; they ready to pounce on it! I can only hope that Companies here have learned from the blunders that BP have made in handling the Gulf situation because they are not going to be abe to hide for much longer. The way we communicate is changing and Social media is about to explode (no pun intended) in S.A. and it goes without saying that corporates who wish to avoid the ‘fopa’s’ that BP have experienced should get their ‘house in order’ now and start employing and training people that are Social Media Savvy and who understand more than just ‘corporate protocol’ and ‘ettiquette’. They need creative people who know how to take advantage of a bad situation and make it work for them instead of against.
    Accidents happen, we all know that, but to try and downplay the impact it will have, is a catastrophy! Good luck ‘cleaning’ this one up BP… remember that you can always sell your products in Africa as 90% of the people are totally oblivious to what’s going on in the rest of the world… for now! The Social media revolution is upon us and BP should be embracing it’s power not trying to hide away. I get the feeling that they are ‘making’ it diffficult for us to find their online presence because they have no idea what to do with it! But that’s just my opinion.

  7. Really great suggestions for BP. I agree with you that they’ve done some things well, and others not so much.

    I also wrote a quick, little something about this topic and would love your thoughts. I added some suggestions of my own for BP here:


  8. @ Allan Jenkins

    “Your (incorrectly) assume BP has a culture that would allow any of this.”

    I think that’s the point of the article. Perhaps if BP *did* have a culture that demonstrated they’re human, there wouldn’t have been such a PR backlash.

    • Thanks Carly. That is one of the main points in this particular instance and across the board. Your weaknesses, whatever they may be as a company will be quickly exposed via social media. In this case to use’s Allan’s words it’s their communication culture.



  9. Your (incorrectly) assume BP has a culture that would allow any of this.

    “Social media” is just one of many communication tools. BP hasn’t shown it knows how to use any communication tool effectively, and it looks as if their communication staff is not even involved (or prepared) for this.

    To make this question interesting, you really need to back it up to “What sort of communication culture should BP have had in place?”

    • Allan:

      Love your comment. Often social media can shed light on the fact that a business model is broken or in this case as you astutely point out, an overall improved communication culture needs to happen at BP. Thanks for reading and for providing such valuable input.

      Best, Erik

  10. Blessing:

    Great comment on the power of social media and that the savvy will use it to their advantage!

  11. I think all corporates can learn from the fact that the impressions that people hold are the ones that are continually re-enforced. social media at the moment has a “voice” that is too big to ignored. if you lead an organization, through social media, you can be the one that determines the perceptions / impression of your organization and or its products / services. here is a powerful tool, use it!

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