This dissertation deals with the subject of online firestorms and focuses its attention primarily on Facebook. Since the year 2014 an increasing number of Danish companies have fallen victim to wide critic in both regular media and on social media. In all cases the criticism was caused by an action from the company, which then led to a large quantity of negative comments on Facebook. The criticism quickly moved from social media to the general media and the situations turned into actual firestorms. Most companies did not commit any crimes or any other wrong doings. Instead they simply acted against what was expected of them from their stakeholders, which in most cases was a question of moral and ethics. This peaked my interest and lead me to ask how these firestorms are best handled. Before I could answer the question, I needed to look back and see how some of the before mentioned companies handled their crisis response back in 2014. I picked out two companies: Jensen’s Bøfhus and Imerco. My empirical data came from articles in the traditional media as well as quantitative and qualitative data from their respective Facebook pages. Because the subject of firestorms has yet to be investigated thoroughly, I have used theory from the field of traditional crisis communication, Coombs & Benoit, combined with social media literature for my analysis of the empirical data. On top of this, I have performed two expert interviews to gain as much knowledge as possible about handling crises on social media. Conclusion: My analysis of the two cases proved the need for both traditional crisis communication and social media theories. The first part tended to type of response and focused on crisis history and stakeholder relations whereas the second referred more to concrete actions. It proved vitally important to address the criticism quickly and where it arose – in this case Facebook. Imerco understood this, whereas Jensen’s Bøfhus tried to divert the conversation to the traditional media. However, what both neglected and seemed to misunderstand, was how social media has changed the way we communicate with large companies. Facebook is a dialogue based platform and should be used for just that. When trying to defend a company on Facebook it is essential that you speak directly to your customers, which in turn should make them more sympathetic to your message. Show empathy and understanding to those affected by your actions, be it directly or indirectly. A downright apology is rarely needed.
|Educations||MA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||96|