M&A in Social Media

The recent merger of The Stanley Works and Black & Decker brings into elegant focus the new challenges a social media presence creates for merging organizations.  Or perhaps one should say presences, because once you add up corporate Facebook fan pages, product line Facebook fan pages with corporate and product line Twitterfeeds things start to get messy.  And we haven’t even mentioned corporate and product web pages.

The divergent desires of creating a unified new front for investors while at the same time maintaining brand intimacy for customers of the legacy brands are laudable.  However, when each social media encounter with a company offers a different experience, stakeholders might be permitted a minor twinge of confusion.  Stanley Black & Decker has a relatively broad use of social media which is admirable, but when some of their platforms mention the merger and others don’t, when some tweets enthusiastically embrace the merger and Facebook fan pages respond to queries and yet the YouTube channel ignores comments, one is left with an odd feeling of dislocation.

One suspects that the primary reason for this is the logistical challenge of coordinating platforms managed by different entities inside the two organizations within a brief timeframe, but clearly this is a skill that companies will need to acquire.  We believe that it is this kind of muddle that will ultimately drive companies to create strategic content for all stakeholders in every social medium rather than living on in the vain hope that they can use Facebook for recruitment, the web site for investors and Twitter for customer complaints.  As the economy heats up and M&A returns in force, more than a few companies will have to figure out a process for managing their social integration.

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