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March 22, 2010
Nestle Nicks Itself in Social Media

The Nestle company seems to be demonstrating how to make Greenpeace look good by making itself look bad. Its handling of Facebook fan perversions of its logo by threatening deletions and other irritable comments illustrates why companies are skittish of going into social media relations in the first place.

Plunging in is not something to be done casually or without training in cardinal PR principles like empathy -- walking in other people's shoes. You don't allow someone simply to fire back without working beforehand through the nuances of an issue and recognizing how it may be playing with the public. This is especially so if, like Nestle, you have been in the public eye before. 

In the early stages of the latest Greenpeace offensive last week, Nestle seemed content with letting itself be represented by a peevish juvenile rather than a PR pro. Don't do that, folks, ever. Here are two accounts of Nestle's mishaps for you to work your way through from New Media Age and Cnet. They're not pleasant reading.   

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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