Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Importance of Social Media Monitoring During Crisis Events

In a few of my previous blog posts I have touched on the importance of addressing negative comments on your Facebook fan page, as appose to deleting them. This is always a good practice to do as it shows your company is proactive, and shows compassion when responding to consumer complaints.
Unfortunately we have all heard the news stories of the devastating crash of Costa Concordia in Italy last month. Tonight I wanted to touch on some key social media disasters Carnival Cruise Corporation encountered shortly after the ship wreck.
A few of my clients are in the travel industry so I follow many companies like Carnival Cruise Lines and know how active they usually are on their social networking sites, actively promoting upcoming cruise sales and providing information to consumers when requested. But within the days following the accident, it was interesting to see that business was usual for the Carnival Cruise fan page. The company continued to post upcoming cruise specials and travel information on the different cruises available while their fan page began to fill up the page with heartwarming messages of support/questions/fear. It wasn’t until the following week after the ship wreck that the company finally acknowledged their promotional efforts on social media platforms and publically announced that “Out of respect for all those affected by the recent events surrounding our sister line, Costa cruises, we are going to take a bit of a break from posting on our social channels.” The company also publicly announced they planned to pull upcoming print and tv ads out of respect for those families affected.
Fans of the companies Facebook page seemed to react relatively positive to this recent announcement, with over 5,000 likes and nearly 800 comments from fans. As things began to unfold further, and the public learned of Carnivals 30% off offer to passengers for future cruises, the company’s public brand image quickly began to decline. It was interesting to watch their social media support decline over the coming weeks all because of how they handled their PR crisis. Some attribute the declining brand image to the company’s lack of communication after the accident, leaving the general public to speculate over rumors heard from others. It was interesting to observe through all this the amount of unanswered comments/questions on the fan page while the company was still active on their social networking sites, almost as if they were avoiding acknowledging that the accident event existed.
An unfortunate incident like this always becomes an eye opener such companies as Carnival Cruise Lines; safety procedures being reviewed, and I think it is safe to assume the company is currently reviewing their crisis management procedures.  Carnival Cruise Lines should take a note from GoDaddy and how they acknowledged the mass amounts of negative feedback from their tacky Super Bowl commercials. Read about the GoDaddy commercial backlash here.

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