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Bin Laden Death Spreads on Social Web; What is the CRM Lesson?

Scores of people across the globe learned of Osama bin Laden’s death through a social media channel – a Facebook post, a Twitter feed – proving the enduring shift in the public’s information gathering practices. For professionals focusing on customer engagement and CRM, the night gives more confirmation of the need to educate and inform customers through social networks.

Rumors started flying around the social web before the U.S. government made its official announcement around 11:30 PM EST, when President Barak Obama addressed the world from the East Room of the Whitehouse. It was the biggest U.S. news story to break in the social media era, and some social platform was the first point of the news for many. Hours before, reputable sources were Tweeting and people were updating their Facebook statuses with reactions or links to reports of the death.


A Pakistani IT consultant, living near the Abbottabad compound where bin Laden was hiding, even Tweeted about the attack while it was happening. First, he mentioned the helicopters hovering about the building before reporting that a fight had seemingly broken out – "A huge window shaking, bang here in Abbottabad…I hope its not the start of something nasty," he wrote.

The unfolding of the news throughout the evening doesn’t necessarily speak to consumers’ purchasing practices or product research habits, but it does reveal the changing nature of news and information consumption. While studies have debated the merits of social media outreach for businesses (a recent study, covered by CMIQ, even concluded that online buyers are almost never influenced by social media efforts), there is no debating the expanding robustness of social media platforms. As the capability of the social web continues to increase, users – and potential customers – will continue to expect more from their social networks.