podcamp 2010 toronto: @cbarger: the social web, crisis response & reputation rejuvenation

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The Social Web, Crisis Response & Reputation Rejuvenation Christopher Barger Director, Social Media, General Motors Twitter: @cbarger or @gmblogs February 20, 2010

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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 Barger
    Director, Social Media, General Motors
    Twitter: @cbarger or @gmblogs
    February 20, 2010
  • Social networking, GM and Chapter 11
    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
  • Lesson #1: You cannot overcommunicate
    For general engagement & normal business, its better to strategize & choose right channels for your goal
    In a crisis, answering as many questions as possible & letting people know youre 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 didnt 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.)
  • 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 dont 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 theyre 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. Youll have momentum to take you to the next step.
  • Hands on Engagement
    Product 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.
  • Listening to consumers
    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
  • Listening to critics
  • Expanding customer service
  • Change your approaches
  • Lesson #5: Provide value
    Communitys 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 wouldnt expect from you.
    Adopt one at a time as your mindset, not just your mantra. Broad gestures often dont 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 theyre 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 youre doing.
    There is no over.