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Irving Oil’s Facebook Statement in a Crisis – The Results Are In!

04 Oct

Yesterday I asked you to analyze the statement Irving Oil released to their Facebook page last week when one of their carbonate tanks got over-pressurized.

To my not-surprise (is that an expression?) I got some very good comments and thoughtful analyses! Here’s what some of you took the time to share with me:

Pam pointed out that, within their responses to wondering fans, Irving Oil didn’t do a stellar job at being completely clear. She was right. Though Carlos also raised an excellent point addressing the fact that it is possible that the Facebook admin did not have all technical details at hand, at that moment, to divulge.

Pam also pointed out that Irving Oil stopped answering fans’ comments and questions after a time. Although she’s correct, I wouldn’t necessarily say this was a bad thing for two reasons:

  1. Convos and discussions can go on endlessly and, having done a good job informing and responding to their audience, it was OK for them to discontinue the engagement at the time that they did. Some fans (and people in general) can tend to rant and instigate when they’re upset, and that’s one particular case that rang true in this situation.
  2. Their happy fans and advocates came to their defence, answering questions and defending the brand, allowing Irving Oil to sit back and not have to get into a heated discussion with that unhappy individual.

Steve remarked that the Facebook statement was too cut-and-dry, too official in tone, and that the company didn’t show any real compassion for the injured employee. He brought up the excellent point that it would have been nice for Irving Oil to come back later and let the public know the condition of the injured employee.

Steve also brought up the point that Irving Oil didn’t state three things that I’m always saying is very important to include within your official social media statement:

  1. Why the situation happened
  2. What the company is doing to correct the situation
  3. What the company is doing to keep the situation from happening again

These would have been excellent pieces of information to include within their statement.

Thank you to all of my fabulous readers who took the time to send me your comments and analysis of Irving Oil’s statement! You all brought up excellent points that, together, form a valuable lesson within themselves when it comes to crisis communications.

But I’m not done yet!

Yesterday, I also promised that today I would publish my own analysis. So, here’s what I have to say on the subject of Irving Oil’s Facebook statement:

What they did well:

  • They were honest, upfront and direct about the incident in a timely fashion
  • They stated how many were injured as a result from the incident, as well as the state of those injuries
  • They informed their community of the present situation: “At 12:40pm, the Refinery issued the all-clear to resume normal operations”
  • They were quick to release the statement and to handle the crisis – they clearly understand the value of “real-time”
  • They responded to questions posted by fans
  • The response from their fans and community were supportive and of an overall positive sentiment. For those that were a little more negative, Irving Oil’s community was quick to come to their defence and address the negative comments for them.

What they could have done better:

  • They could have expressed a little more sympathy to the one who was injured
  • They could have linked to a more detailed report or other statements issued on other platforms (press releases, website page, etc), for those who wanted more details

Overall analysis:
All in all, Irving Oil did a fast and honest job at handling the communications for this crisis situation. Because of their fast response and communications, the crisis was controlled and did not escalate into something bigger.

A thanks to you!

Thanks to all of you who joined in yesterday and provided your thoughts and analysis on Irving Oil’s Facebook statement! Im glad to see that you’re getting quick and understanding what’s important when it comes to social media crisis communications! You guys ROCK!

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6 Responses to “Irving Oil’s Facebook Statement in a Crisis – The Results Are In!”

  1. Pam Walaski October 4, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    Thanks Melissa – this is very helpful to me. But it raises another question on my end. Are there any quidelines you can give for when an organization should disengage from the discussion?

    I did see in the string that it became a battle between two posters towards the end, and it makes sense not to engage in that. But if a poster asks a direct question (as was asked reagrding a fire vs. explosion), how do you determine when to "ignore" it, for lack of a better word?

    Maybe tomorrow's blog?

    • Melissa Agnes October 4, 2012 at 9:54 am #

      Hi Pam,

      Thank YOU for taking the time to contribute yesterday! I’m glad you’ve found it helpful :)

      Great question – and I can do better than tomorrow!
      Had a fan not come and answered that person’s question regarding the explosion, I would have expected to see Irving Oil do a better and more thorough job at answering it. However, when your fans come to your defence and/or to your aide, there’s no need to be redundant, which was the case.

      If you’re interested, I have a few different articles that give tips and advice when it comes to these types of situations, and I’ve posted them below. If you still have questions that perhaps I don’t answer within the posts below, after you read them, please send them to me and I will definitely address them in a new post!

      Thanks again, Pam!




  2. Dave Zan October 8, 2012 at 2:00 am #

    Damn, too bad I missed that discussion. I would've enjoyed taking part in that and learning from it, too, although I did the latter after finally reading it and this one anyway. :)

    Looking forward to the next one (and you can bet there will be a next one).

    • Melissa Agnes October 8, 2012 at 8:33 am #

      Hi Dave,

      Im glad you enjoyed and learned from the post! Why not take part now?! Is there something here that you think we missed or that you want to add? If so, I'll be sure to respond.

      And oh yes! You can bet there will be a next one! ;)

  3. Pam Walaski October 4, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

    Yep, that's exactly the guidance I was looking for, thanks!

  4. Melissa Agnes October 4, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

    Im glad! Plus Im using your question for this coming Monday's Q&A Monday :)

    Thanks again, Pam :)

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