Today there’s a challenging conundrum sweeping the social media desks at big brands across the United Kingdom. The Corporate Communications Directors are — as I type — looking expectantly at their social media gurus, demanding answers.
Yesterday’s revelations about the News of the World newspaper hacking the voicemail of a missing (and sadly, murdered) teenager has — perhaps predictably — resulted in a small outcry on Twitter. This outcry threatens to ‘go nuclear’ as Chris Lake at e-consultancy points out.
Chris has penned a piece this afternoon asking how brands should respond to this outcry. He also links to this handy tweet-ready page that many consumers are using to register their disgust. Someone has compiled a list of brands who advertise with the News of the World newspaper and created a ‘tweet this’ button for each one, enabling you to whack out tweets-of-disgust in record time and without having to go and find the respective Twitter account names.
Chris reckons there’s two possible responses: Either ignore the messages being received or tackle them head on. He also points out that ignoring enquiries from customers is highly dangerous.
I haven’t issued any tweets on the subject but I can tell you, if I sent a note, I’d be expecting a reply today. And anything other than ‘yes we are removing our spend’ is unacceptable.
That’s the consumer viewpoint.
The business end is a little more challenging. The News of the World is read by squillions of people. It’s got a huge reach on Sunday. Pulling advertising is therefore a rather difficult decision.
I imagine most social media experts will be counselling a direct, open response as soon as possible. I also imagine that the corporate communications folk will be thinking the total opposite.
One of the mobile companies collared in that list is T-Mobile.
Here’s an example of what’s going on — each of these people will be wanting a reply from the operator:
What’s the T-Mobile response?
I wonder how many messages T-Mobile would need to receive before they’d feel compelled to reply?
Will this blow over by 6pm tonight? I wonder.