Monitoring the conversations that are taking place about you is a must-do. There is no excuse for not listening and it could help save your reputation.
I was driving into work on 14th March wondering if Spring was ever going to spring, when BBC Newcastle radio station announced in a report that TT2, the company that operate the Tyne Tunnel linking South Tyneside with Newcastle and Northumberland, had not installed speed cameras in their tunnels despite substantial rumours.
The Tyne Tunnel was once a frequent utterance on local radio breakfast shows; mainly in the traffic reports. But since the construction and opening of the second tunnel it faded into memory; especially for me now that I had moved my place of work from Ashington to the much more conveniently situated Walbottle.
The Tyne Tunnel was great now. They opened it up on time, in an era when construction company deadlines held as much weight as your wallet after you’ve bought a season ticket to Wembley Stadium, and they had received generally good press coverage.
However, all this was to end one cold day in March when rumours started on Twitter that they had secretly installed speed cameras. Furthermore, the tweets seemed to indicate they had not publicly announced this as it had been their intention to use it as a profiteering tool.
Speed camera switched on at the Tyne Tunnel and already caught 300 people !! Careful Peeps x
— justme (@binzybee) March 11, 2013
So, the Tyne Tunnel installed and turned on the speed cameras in both tunnels yesterday! Drive careful wild ones and spread the word!
— Racheal Heslop (@MissRHeslop) March 11, 2013
All of a sudden TT2 had a PR crisis on their hands, and what’s more it was not even true!
This spread of information was contained to Twitter, but had already spread to a huge reach, and damage to TT2’s reputation was at the heart of the discourse. There was a conversation happening that they were not part of.
I don’t know exactly how they found out about the rumours on the electronic grapevine; they should have had someone monitoring there name, but I fear they were probably contacted by a journalist, or someone else who monitors social media as part of their everyday tasks.
All organisations need to monitor social media
Interestingly, even though they have a Twitter account they chose not to use it in their efforts to get their side of the story out. They used local breakfast radio as their medium. This optimised their potential to reach their key public – motorists in the area of the tunnel.
So even though you are not communicating through social media platforms, don’t forget the importance of using them as a monitoring device. There is no excuse for ignoring it.