There was a great story on BBC Breakfast News this morning about how social media can seriously damage a brand. In this case a single YouTube video complaint about a bad experience with United Airlines has contributed towards United Airlines share price dropping by 10% and costing shareholders a reported $180 million!
“Meanwhile, within four days of the song going online, the gathering thunderclouds of bad PR caused United Airlines’ stock price to suffer a mid-flight stall, and it plunged by 10 per cent, costing shareholders $180 million. Which, incidentally, would have bought Carroll more than 51,000 replacement guitars.”
Here’s the video, titled “United Breaks Guitars” by Dave Carroll – so far having an incredible viral effect with over 3.6 millions views:
This really goes to show the power of social media in terms of a reputation management tool and influencing public opinion. Every brand should be aware of their online reputation and trying to control this where possible. Social media has also made customer service more important than ever, now an unhappy customer has the power to share their story with hundreds, thousands or in this case 3.6 million people online!
There’s an interesting write-up on Social Media Today which looks at this and how United are using social media themselves – to less effect it has it be said! SEOmoz also posted some useful ideas about how United could look to repair their online reputation.
United aren’t the only company to be hit by a negative online reputation either, Domino’s Pizza in the US have received a backlash following a shocking video on YouTube. Plus Habitat were heavily criticised for spamming Twitter with irrelevant hashtags when their recent social media campaign was pushed too far.