Social Media, Oil Spill and Social CRM #sCRM | Dr. Harish Kotadia

We all know about the catastrophic “Oil Spill” in the Gulf of Mexico, off Louisiana coast. Looking at the damage to environment and business in the area, one wonders if only we could have prevented it or contained it as soon as oil began leaking. Unfortunately, that is wishful thinking looking at the situation now. Hope the company managing this oil well is able to stop flow of oil from the well soon and limit the extent of damage.

Negative publicity on Social Media channels like Twitter or Facebook, whether spontaneous or organized, is like “Oil Spill”. Looking at the potential for harm to brand image or reputation, one hopes it never happens and prevention is the best strategy. And if there is a brand crisis on Social Media channels, it is best contained as early as possible just like the infamous “Oil Spill”. Two famous case studies of Social Media brand crisis that come to mind are United Breaks Guitarsand Nestlé. In both cases, company’s response was little slow and situation quickly turned ugly. This underscores the importance Social CRM.

Social CRM is defined as the business strategy of engaging customers through Social Media with goal of building trust and brand loyalty. It is important for a company or brand manager to engage customers and prospects on Social Media and build trust in the brand or company BEFORE any Social Media Brand crisis, as it will not only help in preventing a crisis in the first place but even if there is a crisis, company will have “trusted” and “recognized” representation on Social Media channels for communicating company’s side of the story, possibly preventing a “blow out”.

It is also very important to have a Social Media Crisis Management Plan. It should clearly highlight roles and responsibilities, procedure and protocols to be followed in the event of a brand crisis. Because the first step in solving any crisis is to identify and respond to it, and respond FAST when it comes to Social Media.

So here is a question for you. Will you wait for a Social Media “Oil Slick” before adopting Social CRM? And Do you have a Social Media Crisis Management Plan for your organization? If there is a crisis, will you handle it effectively or be caught napping and search for excuses? The choice is yours!

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