MNCs, such as British Petroleum, Nike, IBM or Walmart, are increasingly important actors on the global business landscape. They have contributed significantly to the trend of global production and consumption. They have been attempting to create a systematic channel where they can personalize their brands and operations to global consumers. The use of various social networking tools such as Twitter, Facebook or Myspace has become a norm of practice.
However, the way they manipulate "us" via the use of social networking
tools is not well-reported in the mainstream media. For instance, KFC keeps
pushing messages such as, "It's Pepsi MAX that is being added to the KFC
menu -- the new zero calorie cola. It's really good." Or -- "Sometimes
the Colonel has to leave the keyboard and go to the kitchen. Sorry I missed
you. Thanks for being KFC fans."
Clearly, KFC try to personify its competitive brand by reviving Colonel Sanders to communicate with their global customers. The problem, for me, is companies, such as KFC or Pizza Hut, keep pushing their products in the market to young people who may not be aware of their marketing communication strategies. Why don't they promote healthier options such as water or juice (instead of their oily products) to young people who are always on Twitter? The bottom line is obviously money.
BP is another interesting example in the world of social media. When we look at their marketing communication via a social networking instrument. On their Twitter, they keep pushing messages such as ...
"Millions of BP dollars helped to move the largest construction project in #Alabama."
"Seafood passes the test. Testing shows seafood is 100 to 1,000 times below level of concern."
We are happy for BP to be a good global corporation, but we also need to know how much BP aim to commit to the victims of oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Using a social networking tool to communicate with the world clearly is not enough to convince us.
MNCs should make their customers feel that they are being honest when it comes to global communication. The messages that they use to communicate with their followers on micro blogs, such as Twitter or facebook, must be more action-oriented than promotional messages. I believe that all MNCs must act upon their social responsibilities, and the use of honest and sincere messages with their followers in the social network domain is one way to show their responsibilities.