Total : Controlling the flow

Intelligent mixing of online channels keeps all audiences informed in a crisis.

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The Site

Total, the France-based oil and gas multinational, has been posting news and status updates to different online properties since a gas leak in the North Sea on 25 March. The company posted its first official response to the problem in the Elgin field on its dotcom site within two hours of the leak appearing. Its home page has since contained prominent links to official news updates and press releases about the situation. The news releases link to the company’s UK presences on Facebook and Twitter. The Total E&P UK Twitter account has been used to provide frequent updates and links to the press releases on the corporate site. The UK Facebook page is being used, too. The website has a Total E&P update page with links to the social media channels.

The Takeaway

In its management of the online response to the Elgin field gas leak, Total appears to have learned from similar situations faced by others in the industry in the past. The online reaction has been swift and centred around the corporate website, which is pointing those with a continuing interest directly to the company’s UK Twitter and Facebook accounts. This neatly siphons traffic out to the most informative and immediate source of news while Total’s global social media accounts provide updates on the situation. The company can thus more easily convey a coherent and contained message that is simple to manage internally. While most people will get the news about the leak from mainstream media sources, the two UK social media platforms have been well used to keep online audiences updated. Most notable is the company’s use of Twitter, where frequent tweets about the leak keep the active, news-focused and professional audience in the loop and aware of the corporate site. Facebook and Flickr have been employed appropriately too, serving the general interest audiences, although so far on Facebook with little engagement from users. All the channels are in effect being used as satellite news feeds, serving their users while at the same time directing traffic to the official response on the central corporate website.
First published 29 March, 2012
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