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May
26

BP’s Social Media Nightmare

First sky rocketing gas prices from a year or two ago, followed by record profits by oil companies, combined with the Gulf Oil Spill which may very well go down in history as one of the worst man-made ecological disasters of all time are culiminating to create the perfect PR storm for BP.  This is one oil company with a bit of an image problem.

An unresponsive US Government coupled with a corporation bent on not disclosing information to the general public has turned into major disaster.  Media continues to report the story:  “It’s bad, and it’s getting worse.”   Not to diminish the seriousness of what’s going on, but from a social media perspective it’s a tragedy of another kind.  In simple terms, it’s a PR nightmare for BP.

As of  Tuesday night close to 115,000 people on Facebook have joined the “Boycott BP” Page, and many other (yet smaller) pages are springing up with a few thousand people “liking” them as well.  When I searched for the official BP Page on Facebook there was nothing to be found.  

Upon further searching and eventually going to BP’s website I found an icon for their Facebook Page.  Click it, and you’re taken to the Deepwater Horizon Response FB page with no mention whatsoever of BP.  The page, as of late Tuesday evening, had under 25,000 fans.  Let’s do the math: 115,000  > 25,000  (nearly a 5:1 ratio)

Maybe things will be better for BP on Twitter.  Not really.  Actually, it’s worse.  Twitter is all abuzz about BP.  I’m on the East Coast, writing at 2 am, watching live  Twitter Search updates of “BP” – thousands pop up in a span of minutes.  The majority of what’s being tweeted (98% in my opinion) is not positive.  A Huffington Post story highlighting a website that is “taking bets on what species will go extinct as a result of the spill” is gaining a lot of traction on Twitter

BP’s Official Twitter account is pumping out tweets every hour or so.  Advising their followers, who number just under 5,400, of what they’re doing.  It appears pretty much to be a rehash of “their” Facebook Page.   Meanwhile, a fake BP Twitter account has surfaced and has garnered a much large following with only 79 tweets (at the time of this writing).  @BPGlobalPR has nearly 35,000 followers and is getting retweeted (RT’d) a lot…and showing up all over Facebook in people’s status updates.  Whoever’s behind it is making BP look really bad.

I have to admit that some of the @BPGlobalPR tweets are rather humorous – in a horrible kind of way.  Again, the damage this spill is doing and will continue to do for God knows how long is a very bad thing.  But tweets like “We feel terrible about spilling oil in American waters, we’ll make sure the next spill happens where the terrorists live. #bpcares” and “It’s official, the phrase “All the tea in china” has been replaced with ‘All the oil in the gulf” – Can’t wait for the royalties!” made me laugh out loud.

Funny stuff at the expense of a big oil company that some say gouged us all in recent years.  Now @BPGlobalPR is saying what we deep down inside half-way expected them to be thinking all along.  Did I mention they’re also selling t-shirts?

Almost forgot – let’s do the math: 79 tweets + 35,000 followers > 302 tweets + 5,400 followers (nearly 7:1 ratio)

BP’s CEO was quoted as saying the big oil spill is “tiny” in relation to the “very big ocean.” From the looks of the social media buzz surrounding it, I’d say the people aren’t buying it.

A friend of mine recently updated their Facebook status with the following:

“Dear BP,

Perhaps you should spend your money cleaning up the mess you made instead of paying Google to put you at the top of their list so that you can attempt to appear as though you’re actually doing something worth a damn to stop the “leak” (i.e. huge gushing mass of oil) in the Gulf and actually trying to prevent it from ruining the entire Gulf Coast and killing every living thing that inhabits the entire area.
Thanks”

Do a Google search for “Gulf Oil Spill” for yourself and see what comes up at the very top.

I’m curious to know what your take is on this.  Is BP showing up on your social media radar at all?  From my vantage point they seem non-existant.  Tell me all about it and maybe I’ll send you a shirt.

  • Katherine

    I’m on Twitter and Facebook all day long, and the all mentions I’ve seen about BP have been negative.

  • http://www.mossbenefits.com Jon Moss

    Katherine – thanks for commenting! It’s almost unbelievable how fast this wildfire is spreading. Chalk it up to the power of social media. It gets worse. CNN Money is reporting that 25,000 people a day are joining a “Boycott BP Movement.
    http://money.cnn.com/2010/05/26/news/companies/boycott_BP/index.htm