BP’s Use of Social Media and SEO Techniques

One could almost feel sorry for BP if not for the images of black plumes of oil spewing into the ocean. The energy company is taking a very public flogging for their handling of the oil spill, and, indeed, for the occurrence of the spill in the first place.

Ironically, some of the most damaging video comes directly from BP’s own site from their ROVs, or remote operated vehicles. BP has been hoping to counter their PR nightmare by employing SEO tactics and using social media sites, including Flickr, Twitter, and Facebook.

If you visit BP’s Flickr site, you will see photos of workers cleaning beaches, treating water, and cleaning oiled animals. You will also see skimming vessels clearing paths in the oil-coated water. Twitter features continual updates, like “Response in Numbers: Approximately 29,700 personnel currently responding to protect and clean up coastlines.” Likewise, Facebook features updates and has over 29,000 people who “like this” page. YouTube has videos from BP executives concerning their clean-up efforts.

BP is bidding on and buying up AdWords as much as they can to help them achieve top search engine rankings. The goal is to convey the image of penitence, but more important, the image of action and progress.  Robert Wine, a BP spokesperson, says:

The main aim is a marketing tool, to help the people who are most directly affected — fishermen, local businesses, volunteers in the cleanup. We want people to be able to find us, so we can work out how to minimize the impact on their lives and businesses.

 Also utilizing SEO tools are lawyers and firms seeking to take legal action against BP on behalf of injured parties. These sites have also been actively pursuing related keywords related to the spill, and some have called them the “ambulance chasers” of the internet. One company even sent representatives to Key West, Florida, even though oil has yet to reach that locale, and it may not.  So far, some 25,000 claims have been handled by BP; these lawyers are hoping to capitalize on the immense attention and “reel” in clients while the oil is still spewing.

Leave a Comment