The phenomena of social media is one that businesses need to understand, and be ready to respond when, rather than if, it gets difficult.

The Nestle Facebook page has been overrun by new “fans” after the publicity surrounding their practices of using palm oil sourced from Indonesia from areas with questionable sustainability practices. On Twitter when I checkedĀ  a short time ago there were many entries, most about the palm oil, and all of them unhappy.

Justified or otherwise, businesses need to be on the front foot to be able to respond positively, and proactively to the potential of social media to undo brand integrity overnight.

The destruction of a brand, or in Nestles case, many brands is much easier than their construction,

At some point, all organizations will come under the scrutiny of groups utilizing the tools of the social media if they leave any openings at all, and these groups are currently better organised, better focused, and better able to mobilise support. Being proactive is no longer the task that should be given to the graduate trainee, but should be a board issue, as it is a major risk to the Intellectual capital and therefore value of a business.