FIFA: How Not To Handle A Social PR Crisis

FIFA’s Twitter profile got over 7700 questions from users in the past month - they have responded to zero.

FIFA: How Not To Handle A Social PR Crisis

About ten days ago a reddit user posted an augmented Coke ad, saying “Coke’s slogan is ‘Share Happiness’. So I made an ad to remind them of the kind of happiness they’re sharing in Qatar.” This was the first jab at FIFA’s Qatar sponsors putting their money behind human rights violations, and many more followed in the next days.

Of course, that’s not the first time FIFA’s choice of the 2022 World Cup location has come under public scrutiny, nor the first time FIFA itself has been criticized. If FIFA’s PR team had been having a bad month before, it got a lot worse a couple of days ago when fourteen FIFA officials were arrested in the USA and Switzerland, indicted for taking bribes. Charges include bribery, racketeering, and money-laundering.

It’s often said in the world of marketing and advertising that a PR crisis is a challenge, but also a chance for redemption and growth, to face the problem and emerge from the battle victorious – the proverbial lotus growing out of the mud. A quick look into Socialbakers Analytics tells us that that’s not what was going through the minds of FIFA’s PR team: out of the almost 8000 questions posed to them on Twitter in just under last month, they’ve responded to zero.

Most of those questions came right around the indictment – look at that volume of questions shoot right up. Maybe the social media teams, the PR teams, and all others possibly tasked with taking care of the Twitter profile collectively stood up and quit?

The more plausible option though, is that they’ve made the conscious choice of not answering the questions – and that is the kind of above-the-law attitude that got FIFA in this mess in the first place. It looks like this attitude doesn’t fly anymore on the political arena, and perhaps it’s time to adjust their marketing strategies too.

Are you prepared for a social PR crisis?

Football is the most popular sport on the planet – and incredibly lucrative. But, a series of scandals and ineffective (or nonexistent) reactions from FIFA are certainly starting to take a toll. It may be only a matter of time before the controversies and poorly-executed responses start affecting the bottom line. Ultimately, it’s fans that buy tickets, jerseys, and everything else football – what happens when they start deciding – potentially en masse – that they would rather spend their money elsewhere?

Check out Socialbakers Analytics for free today to keep an eye on your own questions volume and Question Response Rate and Time.

Product Marketing Manager

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