That’s the headline on Mike Butcher’s Techcrunch article – I think it is missing the point. I’m finding myself getting annoyed (probably irrationally) about the tone of certain people on Twitter regarding the Eurostar. The problem is not a social media or twitter failure, it’s a complete communication failure on behalf of Eurostar. Twitter should probably be the least of their worries over what else seems to be failing, although there seems to be a belief that if only the Eurostar Twitter account was working then many of the comms issues would be sorted.
Two issues I see here. Of the 2000 or so people still stuck on trains, very few are likely to be using Twitter. I did a random sampling of tweets mentioning the issue and found 3 people who are are a train. Even if it’s a 100 people, not really enough to do efficient communication. Secondly, after being stuck on a train without power, I’m guessing if they have phone power left, they are using it to connect with family and friends, not with Twitter.
Here’s where I see some failures are:
- What appears to be a depressing lack of onboard communication to let people their know what is happening. This comes from the TV and news reports
- Not organising transport to get the people off the trains, or moving back to London.
- The inability to quickly update their website with news. I was looking at this last night and there was no-way I way I could see to get arrival or departure information. The news was not updated about the situation until late this morning. Not just about the stuck trains, but about the cancellations of today’s trains, which impact many more people.
- failure to notify today’s travellers directly
- the failure to be all over the news and other broadcast media to get information out to as many people as possible
- Finally, the failure to use other comms methods, including Twitter to amplify their message
I feel the focus on social media is in a wrong place. Mike calls out the 2 Eurostar accounts he could find eurostar_uk and little_break. The first of these
looks looked like a general marketing account, probably run by there marketing team, not necessarily the first team on call when there’s an operational issue. (Update: Between starting this post and publishing the eurostar_uk twitter account has gone away and Techcrunch is reporting it is not official) The second is a campaign account, set up specifically for a single marketing campaign by agency We are Social, who in all likelihood have no remit to do anything else EXCEPT that campaign and will not be in any comms loop. As it is, they are working hard to get information and updating it this morning. Update: Robin Grant of We are social responds
Now, Mike does have a point; brands need to be aware of what communications channels are there and the PR Crisis Management team need to have access to them all, even if they are just campaign related, or marketing related. Access details need to be ‘in the manual’ Just because the original purpose of a channel was marketing, does not mean it should not be co-opted when necessary. But Twitter is not going to save the day for Eurostar, they have far bigger issues.
PS: I spell checked everything except the title!!!!! fixed now
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