Yet another reason why it’s SO important for brands to be on social media to monitor what’s being said about them….
Today, I noticed that a Facebook connection had posted the following to her status:
“UPS is shipping anything under 50 lbs to Haiti FOR FREE! PLEASE FORWARD TO ALL or PASTE on your FB!!!! THANKS”
I’ll admit, at first, I was tempted to copy and paste her message to my own Facebook status and share it with the rest of my social media contacts. But then, my inner journalist stopped me dead in my tracks: Oh yeah? Says who?!? (After all, I didn’t want any part in spreading rumors.) Surely, if UPS was offering such an outrageous deal, it would be all OVER the company’s Web site–not to mention the mainstream media. But, after a quick inspection, I saw that it was not.
What I did find, however, was a UPS blog post–yes! UPS has a blog! :)–in which the company cleared things up once and for all. Turns out, what had been circulating on the ‘net about free shipping to Haiti was, indeed, a rumor. But the company didn’t just use social media to squash the rumor; it also used it as a vehicle to promote the company’s benevolence and good Samaritanism during a time of need:
“At UPS, we’re committed to delivering aid and supporting relief efforts around the world. Through The UPS Foundation, we’re giving $1 million (USD) in cash and in-kind aid to help the people of Haiti.”
The blog then goes on to offer resources to those who wish to donate to disaster relief efforts.
What a terrific showcasing of the value of brands using social media to communicate their messages to their consumers. Had UPS not been monitoring Facebook and Twitter and the blogosphere, they’d have stepped right into a global public relations nightmare! (Imagine: millions of charitable folks, worldwide, lining up outside UPS with their care packages, expecting free shipment to Haiti… only to find out it was a big fat lie. Definitely. Not. Good.)
By being active and vigilant on the Internet, UPS was able to effectively monitor its brand, set the record straight about its response to the earthquake in Haiti, and squash a potentially devastating rumor long before it had the chance wreak havoc.
If that’s not a reason for your company to jump on the social media bandwagon, then I don’t know what is!