Friday, January 13, 2012

Social Media Crisis Management: Odimax's Emergency Stop


After the  summer while I was benchmarking social media monitoring tools I watched a number of demos, including an early version of Odimax's SocialGuru. At the end of the demo founder Atal Malviya asked if there was anything else that might be useful to add.

One feature I asked for is an emergency stop button for the scheduled actions, the equivalent of the big red button you find on all large, dangerous machinery that shuts everything down when something goes wrong. The reason I ask this is because most social media scheduling tools don't have a quick way to suspend or abort all of the scheduled tweets and updates. In the case of a crisis this would be very useful.

Early in 2010 I was lecturing on crisis PR at the American University of Paris and I recall that one of the examples I gave was the December 2009 crisis when several Eurostar trains were stuck in the tunnel under the sea. People turning to Twitter for news were first surprised to learn that @eurostar was at the time owned by a student and then even more surprised to see obviously scheduled marketing tweets inviting customers to take the train to Paris at Christmas. This example taught a valuable lesson that you need to turn off the flow of routine messages when a crisis occurs. (Since then, by the way, Eurostar also learnt the lesson and now improved out of all recognition. They own the @eurostar account and use it effectively.)

Last week I saw a demo of a new Odimax social media marketing tool that went even beyond my expectations. Not only does it offer the crisis mode I wished for, it also provides automatic detection of crisis situations. This feature triggers programmed actions when, for example, the number of negative mentions rises above a preset threshold so that routine tweets can be stopped and key people alerted.  The new version also has some interesting features concerning influence metrics that I had better not describe in detail because of a patent application in the pipeline. You will be able to try these for yourself when the new version debuts. Visit http://www.odimax.com for more details. You can also see them pitch their product live in London on 18 January 2012. See http://investordaylondon.eventbrite.com/ for details about this event.

These new features are impressive but what impressed me even more is the response to user inputs. Not only did Odimax clearly respond to what people are asking for, they also went beyond that to anticipate the suggestions that haven't even been made yet. There's a lesson here for product developers everywhere.

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