BP’s Social Media Slip Up: BP Can’t Tweet

BP can’t seem to tweet. Maybe you can help?BP's Social Media Slip-up

BP Doubles Down on Damage

My previous post discussed how the oil spill killed BP’s environmental brand positioning.  BP’s response to the spill has done even more damage. While the company is focused on the disaster, surely their marketing people aren’t out personally mucking out the marshes (if so, that is a story worth telling).  What are they doing now that they aren’t producing commercials in corn fields about biofuels?

No BP “Human Energy” in Social Media

While the accident is beyond the control of BP’s marketing department, the public response is not.  For a company spending millions crowing about being about “human energy” and immodestly boasting of being “progressive, responsive and innovative”, their behavior has been anything but. Focusing just on BP’s performance in social media alone, the company fails across the board:

YouTube: How come some kid can instantly produce a video that appears in the top 20 YouTube search results (hoxvlog), and as of now, some 17 days after the disaster, BP’s resource-rich marketing team can’t produce one single video?

LinkedIn: BP’s LinkedIn profile makes zero mention of the disaster.  In fact, the company’s only recent post is for a job opening in Libya.  No employees of BP seem authorized to even so much as express condolences to families who lost loved ones.

Facebook: BP’s Facebook page has no activity, just a general corporate description taken from Wikipedia—in fact it looks like the BP presence is Wikipedia’s!  Worse, our own Merriam Associates posts with the new “Crude BP” logo dominate the page.

Twitter: The corporate BP_plc Twitter account is entirely empty—not even a logo or company description. The BP_America Twitter account is only marginally better.  Still it took BP seven days to get out their first tweet.  Since then, they have used Twitter solely to promote old-fashioned press releases. There is no “human energy”, human emotion, or evidence of human beings at BP at all. Their CEO should be out there offering condolences, expressing gratitude to people helping with the clean up, posting news, insights or human-interest information.

Live the Brand in Social Media

We live in an age where media never sleeps. BP, instead of being the progressive, responsive innovator their marketing claims, is old-fashioned, guarded, cold, and aloof. Many companies are caught off-guard with no social media strategy when disaster strikes (see my previous post on Crash Branding). But not all companies have made such a big show of being better and more innovative.

Twitter Assistance: Help BP Tweet

With the money, manpower and effort BP is throwing into dealing with this disaster, surely BP has something worthwhile, even positive, to say. Maybe they just need some help from savvy marketers and people who understand Twitter.   Suggest some tweets for BP and we will post the best ones here and on Twitter @BP_TweetHelp. No BP bashing, please.

10 comments to BP’s Social Media Slip Up: BP Can’t Tweet

  • HI,
    You asked me how social media experts can help?

    @BP_plc and specially @BP_America needs to inform and inspire.

    Qua marketing you can come out better then
    ever before to proof that BP cares.

    But not only BP is keeping silence, there are
    3 states around that ocean and you guys are spilling in my backyard, so i stand up and
    try to help. This concerns everybody now.

    My advice is:
    Report little succes, inform what is happening, set a team of normal employees (no marketing pitchers) to give some reaction/report of what lives at BP.

    Do not whine over of excuses but sincere ask
    for help and understanding,
    start a fundraiser. Initiate the public to help.

    The public is mad as hell now, but will contribute to help you out.
    Nobody can relate to a company that does not communicate in a simple understandable way.

    The Nasa and the American Military have teams of excellent socialmedia pro, I
    think mr.president Obama will be prepared
    to give a helping hand.

    Don’t keep your silence, face your fears and
    get over, stand up and just do it, get that job done.

    send me a plane ticket and i will come over
    to help you out.

    SEO Themelis Cuiper
    Social Media – market analyst


  • Unbelievable PR response! They should feel responsible to pay for every dime this environmental disaster will cost all stakeholders.

  • notsofast

    Can’t agree with the theme of this post since all you need do is go to the Deepwater Horizon Response page on Facebook and see nearly TWENTY new posts in the past 24 hours (11:00 am, May 4 – May 5) with photos, video, a wide variety of stories, maps and more. To call it content-rich is an understatement. I wouldn’t be so quick to issue verdicts on the company’s public relations response before all the facts are in. Suggest you save face by updating this story.

  • LDMerriam

    The problem is that no one will look for “Deepwater Horizon Response” on Facebook, they look for BP the brand. BP is trying to divorce this disaster from their brand. Notice how they suggest people can follow them on Twitter by following @Oil_Spill_2010? Their mindset is not “how to we connect with people, keep them informed, show we care, and engage in conversation”, it is “how can we keep this thing as far from the brand as possible?” If anything, these two “protect the brand” over “reach out to people” decisions reinforce my point. BP doesn’t get it.

  • LDMerriam

    One last thing–Deepwater Horizon Response needs a better logo. They can appropriate ours for free if they like.

  • I don’t know…I think that BP is being carefully guarded to avoid an even bigger misstep. This could be an object lesson in when to refrain from saying too much in social media. My advice to them is to keep the message tight, but amplify it through social media. For example, sending out links to an NPR interview their CEO did on Monday.

    In these types of situations the best thing a company can do is to admit they’re wrong, own up to responsibility, and move on. You saw that with Tylenol and again with Toyota — too much tweeting about this could give the impression that BP is trying to take advantage of the situation and be crass. For a crisis of this magnitude, use social media to amplify a message, but not spin it, clean up the mess and move on.

  • Had started a facebook link for people that are not going to buy from BP again.

  • [...] campaigns consist of companies just blasting away at the public with no conversation. Witness BP using Twitter to blare press release headlines, never actually engaging in conversation with people making [...]

  • [...] seem to know how to use Facebook or Twitter before or immediately after their plane crashes. BP used one-way corporate-speak on Twitter and Facebook and were more than one step behind on [...]

  • Katie

    Hi, who published this article? I would like to quote you.

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