BP doesn’t care about your Facebook page

boycottbp

By now most marketers can recite many examples of how social media has had a measurable impact on a brand, for better or worse. The BP fiasco is not one of those examples. In fact, the aftermath of the BP oil slick disaster suggests that some companies are beyond the reach of social media.

So far consumers’ use of social to rail against BP have proved to be nothing more than a lot of screaming into the void (my own efforts included). Perhaps you count yourself as one of the 650,000 fans of the Boycott BP Facebook page or one of the 170,000 followers of the wickedly funny BPglobalPR Twitter account. But as ComMetrics blog points out, BP has shrugged off social media reviews. There is nothing to suggest that social has done anything to hold BP accountable for its actions.

With the BP crisis, social has provided more of an outlet for our anger but not a launching pad to galvanize action. We “like” the Boycott BP Facebook page, perhaps post an angry message on its wall, and then call it a day. It’s as if Facebook has become a self-contained ghetto for protesters.

BP’s establishment of a $20 billion escrow fund for Gulf-related damage claims was seen as the first tangible sign that the company was being held accountable for its actions. But BP was responding to pressure brought by President Barack Obama, not by a Facebook page. And Obama’s most notable PR weapon against BP has been a time-honored broadcast medium (television).

So I think it’s fair to ask: are some companies immune to social?

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6 Responses to BP doesn’t care about your Facebook page

  1. David,
    At some point the screw up is so bad social media isn\’t going to make things any worse?

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  3. Diane says:

    I\’m going with \’yes.\’ With the size of BP, I suspect our outrage can\’t really do much.

    On a smaller level Ryan Air kind of took the same attitude a few years back. \”We\’ll give you cheap flights, and you\’ll like it, but we in return we don\’t have to be nice about it.\”

    And in a even smaller way it reminds me of a diner I used to go to in Vancouver, BC where people really went because the waitresses were so nasty.

    Sometimes \”we can\’t have it our way.\” But in the case of BP the consequences are much higher.

  4. David Deal says:

    Steve and Diane, thank you for your comments! I do think social media can actually make things worse by becoming a destination for us to vent our collective spleen instead of being a catalyst to change. If I feel like I\’m doing my part by \”liking\” the Boycott Facebook page, I\’m simply contributing to the social media echo chamber. My energies would be better invested pressuring lawmakers in this instance, I believe. So my apprehension is that social diverts energies that could be better applied elsewhere (in the case of BP). And, Diane, thank you for speaking up. Unfortunately the airlines industry is rife with examples of companies like the one you describe. We applaud when an angry consumer cleverly tweaks the nose of United Airlines for breaking his guitar via poor baggage handling. But aside from embarrassing United, has the \”United Breaks Guitars\” video sensation resulted in better service from United? (BTW Virgin America is one airline that gets social and embraces it.)

  5. Drew Hawkins says:

    I would say in the short-run, large companies such as BP are immune to the type of social outrage we\’ve seen in response to the spill. Even the physical boycotting of BP isn\’t really doing that much harm to the company itself fiscally. However, unless BP does more long-term PR efforts to restore trust with consumers, they could very well pay for this down the road.

  6. Pingback: Could Genuine Self-Depracation Improve BP’s PR? | Brain Wads

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