The Social Web, Crisis Response & Reputation Rejuvenation in the Automotive Industry By: Christopher Barger Director, Global Social Media, General Motors Twitter: @cbarger or @gmblogs
The Social Web, Crisis Response & Reputation Rejuvenation
Christopher BargerDirector, Social Media, General MotorsTwitter: @cbarger or @gmblogsFebruary 20, 2010
Created temporary extended social media team to engage everywhere possible
“Live Tweeted” from every live interview or press conference
Engaged in multiple social networks and platforms
Ensured that traditional media knew of efforts
Social networking, GM and Chapter 11
Lesson #1: You cannot overcommunicate
For general engagement & “normal” business, it’s better to strategize & choose right channels for your goal…
In a crisis, answering as many questions as possible & letting people know you’re listening is vital – both because those affected expect it, & because it introduces your perspective into the conversation – so a broad, all-platforms approach is most effective
Reaching out to influencers
Lesson #2: Let others tell your story Others will be interested in how you
handle your crisis from a social media perspective. So tell them, and let them tell others.
We didn’t contact anyone in hopes that they would turn into an advocate. We just wanted them to tell the story – and knew that the story would drive people to us.
Perceived loss of control is always terrifying, but especially during a crisis. Do it anyway. (You never really had control anyway.) @cbarger
Results Between Twitter,
Facebook and blogs, we engaged in >800 conversations that week
Reaction online to our activity was almost universally positive
Got 40+ new GMers engaging on Twitter
Reinvention website garnered half a million views
Traditional media noticed, covered, even used our feeds
FB fan page growth
Lesson #3: Measure, and report There will be skeptics inside the
organization who don’t think a social web play at this time was smart – and who will be looking for reasons to pull back. You will need lots of examples of why they’re wrong. Use them.
Show the shooters every positive tweet, every measurement report, every metric you can think of to justify/add credibility to the effort. You’ll have momentum to take you to the next step.
Hands on EngagementProduct and Technology
showcase– Invited 100 consumers,
influencers and bloggers to experience GM “Hands On”
– Trip included exclusive tour of GM Design showcasing forthcoming products and concepts, PPO build shop to witness Chevy Volt production, full product ride and drive at Milford Proving Grounds and TweetUp
– Guests were encouraged to share their experience throughout the program
Lesson #4: Follow up matters
Community will expect continued engagement.
Reputational repair begins with demonstrating change, and the sense that you value the relationships forged during the crisis.
Absent significant follow up, community could see your reputational efforts as PR/marketing.
“Michaelbanovsky: Sweet! #GM actually listened for once! Now I know I talked to #fritz about the #G8… http://tr.im/wHpq”
Nsap: is impressed GM is listening when it comes to product...good for them! Keep it up!! @gmblogs @bpgjim @cbarger”
Lesson #5: Provide value Community’s wants/needs/interests come first. This is
always true but especially so during a reputational rebuild. Listen as much as you talk.
Demonstrate change. Do some things people wouldn’t expect from you.
Adopt “one at a time” as your mindset, not just your mantra. Broad gestures often don’t mean nearly as much as small ones. Every person won back is a win, no matter how much effort has to go into winning them back. Treat them like family even after they’re in the family.
If you want them to be advocates, you have to let them advocate. Give them what they need to be effective – information, product, or whatever it takes.
Remember that real life really matters. Incorporate real life interaction into your online relationships – experiential marketing is a huge component of reputational repair. As Spike said this morning, 90% of word of mouth happens offline.
Lessons learned: final thoughts Open, candid engagement can win admiration,
mitigate negativity Need to be engaged prior to crisis to have earned
credibility Engagement during a crisis only goes so far: you
have to back it up after the crisis with sincerity and action
Social engagement can sell your product, even when your product is something as big as a car
Success is only half in executing your program; the other half is telling people about what you’re doing.