It can probably go without saying that there is no other company that currently has a worse reputation, online or off than BP. When your company has caused one of the worst environmental disasters in history, there is no good way to begin repairing your reputation. But just for fun, let’s take a look at what BP is and isn’t doing online to keep what is left of their reputation in tact.
Mashable brought to my attention that BP is now buying PPC keywords such as “Oil Spill” to try and combat all the negative press they’re getting. Obviously, you wouldn’t want your main site to rank organically for a keyword so negatively associated with your brand, but PPC traffic can help to make your site visible with your own messaging – as below this PPC ad are heartbreaking image and news results.
The ad brings visitors to BP’s dedicated blog page with up to date information on the spill and their PR efforts – videos, social media profiles and contact information. I actually think this is a great example of a company putting themselves out there, showing that they’re ready to take some heat for their mistakes. Then again, BP really doesn’t have any other choice.
Company-Owned Social Media
Before the oil spill occurred, BP had strong profiles on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. While I’m not overly familiar with how they were configured in the past, it looks like BP does not allow Facebook fans/likers (whatever) to post on their wall, which was a very smart decision – there are plenty of non-official social media accounts for the angry public to bash BP. Right now BP needs to focus on keeping the public updated and let the fires burn in the media and off company properties in my opinion. I’m sure BP knows people are mad at them.
Their Facebook, Twitter and YouTube profiles are all updated very regularly and provide information about how BP is helping, keeping the public up to date on how containment efforts are going and providing “customer service” information on how to make claims if your livelihood has been affected by the spill. BP’s YouTube channel is now one of the top subscribed to channels on YouTube – remember folks, we’re talking about an oil company on YouTube – they’re competing with Fail Blog videos and Shane Dawson TV!
Ignoring whats not important
In the social media world, one of the most frequently talked about Twitter accounts recently is BPGlobalPR. This is a fake account posting snarky, egotistical comments often including the hashtag #bpcares. The account paints BP as a company that is resting on its laurels, with no real plan or desire to stop the oil spill.
Is this account damaging to BP’s reputation and brand? Yup. Is it the worst thing they have to deal with? No.
I think BP’s decision to let this account run its course has been smart. If BP spent too much effort trying to get the account shut down, people would have further criticized the company for not focusing on cleaning up the oil that is being dumped into the Gulf of Mexico. Hopefully someday, this disaster will be under control and the Twitter account will fade away.
Ultimately, BP has a huge crisis on their hands and considering the magnitude of their problems, they’ve leveraged the internet in a pretty effective manner. The company has provided easy to find information that is updated regularly through a variety of channels. There isn’t a whole lot the internet can really do to help BP now, but at least they understand that the need to be forthcoming with information will earn them a little credibility from my online perspective.