Lack Of Preparation Leaves The Door Wide Open For Your Competitors
When the Susan G. Komen Foundation announced they were cutting funding to Planned Parenthood, the social media backlash was swift and severe. As Komen executives struggled to contain what became a media maelstrom of negative publicity, members of Planned Parenthood launched a Breast Health Emergency Fund drive via their social media networks which went on to raise more than $3 million in just three days. This is more than four times the amount of money Komen intended to cut.
In the face of the negative publicity Komen executives eventually reversed course and restored funding to Planned Parenthood, so not only will they get their $3 million in new donations, they will also get the $700,000 they expected from Komen.
I am definitely not here to argue over who is right or wrong about funding. I am only here to discuss how social media could have been used to help Komen better express their point and counter the negative responses they received. However, they would have needed to understand what was going to happen when they made their announcement. I tend to think someone in their group must have anticipated a backlash. I cannot believe the response came as a surprise to them. The important thing would have been to act on this foresight in advance of the announcement. They could have been prepping their supporters, gathering groups who would be in favor of the move to help them make their point.
I’ll go one step further and say they could have suggested the new social media fundraising raising efforts for Planned Parenthood as a substitute for the money they were no longer willing to provide. This would have gone a long way toward showing there was no animosity; just a decision based on their policies.
Instead they acted as if their decision was just going to fade into the background of national news and go mostly unnoticed. Even as the social media campaign against them gathered steam they still did little to stem the tide; just sat back and let the chips fall where they may.
And the chips quickly fell against them.
Don’t let a social media fiasco happen because you failed to adequately prepare for a negative response to your announcement.
A number of social media specialists based in Westchester said last week that had the Komen foundation anticipated the social media response, it may have been able to deflect much of the criticism while staying out of the national spotlight.
“I think it was a pretty controversial decision and they probably should have anticipated there would be a reaction but you can’t always predict every situation and how people are going to respond to things,” said Bridget Gibbons, CEO of Gibbons Digital Consultants, a social media marketing firm with offices in Bronxville and New York City….
Gibbons said companies either should be constantly monitoring social media venues or should employ public relations specialists to do the monitoring on their behalf.