Here’s one more reason your company’s social media program should be guided by an experienced communications professional. For a while, Nestle’s Facebook page was a place where fans could exchange posts about Kit-Kat bars and other products and receive updates from the company. Nice, huh?
But one day in March, the page was targeted by Greenpeace activists to raise the issue of Nestle’s use of palm oil and the resulting deforestation and endangered species loss in South America. Comments poured in from Facebook users – directly onto Nestle’s own Facebook page – harshly criticizing the company for its practices. Nestle’s initial responses were not well-received, causing additional need for damage control in a situation now included on the list of social media crisis PR case studies.
Coverage here by CNET News provides a good overview, but to see for yourself search for “Nestle” on Facebook and scroll down to the entries in March, 2010. To their credit, Nestle has not deleted the posts, and the company has used the page to post responses and updates about their palm oil practices.
The incident is a cautionary lesson for companies who want to delegate Facebook and all this new-fangled social media stuff to the intern or 20-something employee. Social media is two-way, and how a company responds to its fans – as well as its critics – is critical to its reputation and not something you want to leave in the hands of anyone unfamiliar with the basics of PR and crisis communications.
Credit: Nestle logo from Nestle Facebook page