BP's Social Media Failure

From Andy Beal at marketingpilgrim.com:

What’s missing from this list of words:  Updates, Response, Statement, Briefing, Broadcast, Distribution, Push

Those are just some of the words that I found while looking around BP’s social media efforts for the Gulf oil spill. So, what’s missing?

How about…

Listening, Engaging, Discussing, Conversation, Dialog, Understanding

You’ll be hard pressed to find any of those words. There’s little coming from BP’s “response” page, Facebook page, Twitter account or YouTube profile that suggests that BP is interested in any type of conversation with those affected by the oil spill.

Not that you can fully blame BP. It’s an archaic company, not used to holding conversations with the “small people” –also known as its customers. And it’s PR advice is coming from another traditional agency–which may not have the “conversation” experience, or may simply be constrained by BP’s instructions on actually talking to people.

If BP really wants to “use” social media to help fight the reputation backlash it’s facing, it needs to understand that the medium is a conversation. Right now, it’s using social media the same way it uses TV or Print. It’s only telling us its side of the story and not letting us talk back to BP executives. Who knows, maybe us “small people” might have the answer to cap that leaking pipe!


thespillsite.com is a great source for aggregated news and information on the oil spill in the gulf.

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