I read an article today about how Nestle’s Facebook fan page has been “hijacked” by people who are extremely angry with their new finding that the company uses palm oil in many of their products. Some suppliers of the palm oil “destroy rainforests” and there is a concern by many that too much of the rainforests will be destroyed by the time they switch to only “certified sustainable palm oil” in 2015. The 96,000 plus “fans” of the Nestle’s Facebook page are expressing their outrage and negative comments are plastered all over the page. Nestle addressed the situation on their Facebook page and directed people to a Q&A page about their palm oil suppliers; however their “fans” say the solution isn’t “timely” enough (changes to happen in 2015).
The Wall Street Journal posed an interesting question: Does Nestle keep their Facebook fan page running and “ride out the storm” or do they shut down the site and start over when the crisis has passed? This certainly got me thinking. There has been quite an emphasis about the importance of social media for companies in today’s economy. As a PR student, I’ve learned how much social media can greatly enhance a company’s revenue and reputation but on the flip side, there is potential for disaster. Is the saying “any press is good press” really true? I don’t think so in certain situations unless it is the push a company needs to make significant changes that boost their sales and reputation. Although Nestle has received negative press, this could be their chance to boost sales higher than they have ever been, if they come out with a product better than their competitors. This is the ideal opportunity for Nestle to create a “purple cow” to revolutionize the brand. Companies should always be looking for ways to improve their market share, so perhaps this is exactly what they needed. I believe they should keep their Facebook page because shutting down the page does not make the issue disappear. If they maintain their Facebook page, they could start sharing some immediate changes they plan to implement, perhaps even incorporating “fan” suggestions. What do you think?