Marketers Use Social Media To Contain 'Badvocates'

Forbes CMO Network, Monday, October 26, 2009 10:46 AM
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As the economic downturn has made many bloggers -- and their followers -- even more distrustful and critical of big business than usual, companies like General Motors and American Airlines are trying to contain the damage that "badvocates" can do, Laurie Burkitt reports.

A social media team of six GM employees monitors comment on the Web, for example -- tweeting, updating Facebook and occasionally commenting on personal blogs. The company even invited one critical blogger -- he ripped GM's "faceless," "nameless" marketing strategies -- to headquarters to interview CEO Fritz Henderson and other executives.

American Airlines is using social media sites to reaching out to consumers before things get out of hand. When New York's LaGuardia Airport closed a terminal due to a bomb threat, it posted notices on its Web site and tweeted status reports. It routinely leaves general information on lost baggage and canceled flights on its Facebook site. Getting the word out before consumers run into problems at the airport is one way to avoid criticism, says Roger Frizzell, vp of corporate communications, brand and advertising.

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