Social media and corporate crisis response

New challenges in online engagement


Ethical Corporation and
Useful Social Media, July 2012


In early 2012, we were commissioned to write a report that explored how social media was evolving to impact corporate behaviour. Based on extensive research and interviews, the report provides an array of case-studies illustrating how activists – like Greenpeace, 38 Degrees, Invisible Children, MoxyVote and others – have successfully used social media to mobilise campaigns and change policy and behaviour at companies like Nestle, Mattel, Facebook and Shell, as well as influencing UK and US government positioning on various issues.

The report also give examples of how companies are responding to these challenges – by developing online social media strategies and policies (like Coca-Cola); by carefully monitoring social media trends, issues and sentiment (using specialist tools, like MeaningMine); by taking great care to ensure their engagement and tone is genuinely responsive to concerns, and by finding new ways to collaborate using social media to cocreate solutions (like Unilever’s Sustainable Living Lab) and get beyond conventional Q&A interactions.

‘Right now, there are more people on Facebook than there were on the planet 200 years ago, and it is changing the way the world works; governments are trying to keep up and older generations are concerned – the rules have changed.’

Kony 2012

Invisible Children

‘So what? Social media may be good for headcount, but it’s not always so good for comprehension.’

Roger Hammond

Living Earth Foundation