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What Have Tony Blackburn, The Archers and Your Business Got in Common



The BBC has been very good at adopting social media and seeing the benefit it can bring to TV and Radio programmes. It provides an immediate way for people to take part in programmes –who remembers the days when you had to send in a postcard with your comments and feedback? It also gives them a great idea of the programmes people like as well as those they don’t.

However as with all social media, people can make comments about other things, such as decisions the BBC makes about who it employs. This brings us to Tony Blackburn.

Last week the long awaited report into how Jimmy Saville got away with the most appalling behaviour while employed at the BBC was published. At the same time they chose to sack Tony Blackburn, the last of the DJs from the 60s and 70s a time when the people playing the records were as famous as the people making them.

BBC Radio 2 uses their Facebook page to promote upcoming shows on the station.  Each day the main topics to be discussed on the Jeremy Vine show are posted for people to comment ahead of the programme. On the day this happened the report by Dame Janet Smith was discussed on the show but it wasn’t posted to the Facebook page.  On Saturday there was no post for “Pick of the Pops” the show Tony Blackburn presented. Mind you by that time the BBC probably had a good idea of what would happen if they did publish a post.

The BBC have, in my opinion, wisely allowed these comments to remain and not added any comments to the posts. I assume they take the view that the damage to everyone’s reputation has been done and all they can do is sit this one out.

What would you do if the reputation of your business was threatened? However small your business, a negative post or tweet, whether true or not could happen. Many businesses are happily sending out content without having a policy in place for when the “you know what” hits the fan.

In this case I think the BBC is right to take the stance they have, especially as lawyers may be involved, but in most cases a prompt and polite reply is the best course of action. In many cases just the fact that you responded will be enough to smooth things over.

Conversely the BBC has created a social media triumph based around The Archers. #thearchers has regularly been a trending topic on a Sunday morning for a few years now. So much so that the incredulous tweets along the lines of “#thearchers is trending – old people tweet who knew?” seem to have finally stopped.

For non listeners there is a current storyline about domestic abuse that has been allowed to develop over the last couple of years. The writing and acting have been so good that many people, me included, can hardly bear to listen. The whole storyline now dominates the comments on the Facebook page and Twitter even when it doesn’t feature in an episode. Thanks to social media as well one listener has set up a Just Giving page for Refuge, the total now stands at over £60 000

Every social media manager in the World would love engagement like that. However interestingly it isn’t the posts themselves that are being engaged with but the content of the show.

Does your business have a product or service that gets people talking about it with very little prompting form your posts? It can happen; many restaurants just get rave reviews just from the quality of their offering.

So what do Tony Blackburn and The Archers have in common with your business?

In two ways;

1.       Be prepared for negative feedback and have a policy in place to deal with it promptly and politely or to acknowledge when saying nothing might be better.

2.       People are more likely to engage with you if they like you, your product or service.

In brief it all boils down to your reputation.

As experienced social media managers we can work with you to form a social media policy for your business. We can guide you on what to say and how to say it. Give us a call on 01491 524002 or email us at to arrange a meeting.



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