Bob: As you know, Taco Bell is dealing with a major E coli outbreak in some of its restaurants. Dozens of people are affected and the potential financial “hit” is not insignificant. Most of us cringe a little bit when we read these stories as it’s very easy to imagine an equivalent crisis hitting our own companies. However, I’m wondering if Taco Bell could have saved themselves a cool $100,000—the cost of one open letter ad in USA Today this morning by being more proactive with the social media than just the traditional media?
Historically, large corporations with a crisis of national scope turn to major newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal and USA Today to state their case, concern and plan of action. That’s not a bad strategy, but it’s slow relative to the instant nature of the web and quite costly. In addition, there is no provision for comment or response. No way to judge the public pulse to this crisis. Message longevity is another factor companies give up if they choose an ad over a blog. The effectiveness of the ad expires as it’s tossed into recycle bin.
Making sure your marketing and communications programs also include tapping the power of social media marketing is vital to keeping up with the internet conversation about your company that's happening real time. Leveraging the social media channel is fast, enables feedback, creates messages with a longer shelf life, and is a heck of a lot cheaper.