Last Friday, Stormy Daniels’ Cadillac Escalade was stolen from an apartment complex in Arlington, Texas.
Naturally, she was fired up about the incident. So she tweeted about it.
At this point I should mention that Stormy Daniels
is an adult-film star, a rather successful one with more than 57,000 Twitter followers. Her stolen car and the tweeting she did to find it are an unlikely example of the power of social media monitoring.
In one of Stormy’s many tweets about the stolen car that day, she mentioned that her Escalade is equipped with OnStar as well as the vehicle recovery device LoJack. At the LoJack Corporation in Massachusetts, that mention pinged the communication staff’s social media monitoring platform.
“We have feeds associated with key words and phrases,” said Jeremy Warnick, the corporate communications manager at LoJack. “In this particular case, I saw a tweet about ‘LoJack’ and ‘a stolen car.’”
To engage or not to engage
The corporate communication department at LoJack consists of two people, Warnick and a social media specialist, who monitor social media mentions of the brand. They use TweetDeck, which is free, and MeltWater Buzz, a paid service. The tweet from Stormy was discovered via TweetDeck, Warnick said.
Engaging with a porn star can be a risky proposition for a brand. But LoJack has detailed social media guidelines, which Warnick helped create. The policy gives him and the social media specialist freedom to join a social media conversation without first seeking approval (unless there’s a legal concern).
The Stormy Daniels conversation was not a legal risk, so Warnick jumped into the conversation, encouraging her to file a police report so officers could activate the LoJack. (Turns out, LoJack systems don’t work until the police turn them on.)
Stormy filed the report and tweeted:
Within two hours, police in Arlington recovered her vehicle undamaged.
Warnick tweeted Stormy about the successful recovery. She immediately notified her followers that the Escalade was found and how thankful she was to LoJack. Several people within the adult film industry tweeted their congratulations, which included positive mentions of LoJack.
“Overall, [this was] a great story that may not have occurred without our social media monitoring efforts,” Warnick said. “Needless to say, it has been a well received case study internally and has once again demonstrated the value and power of social media within LoJack.”
Porn stars are talking about your brand. Are you listening?
Stormy mentioned two other brands during the stolen car episode, neither of which tweeted back. In fact, Stormy lambasted one of those brands, Marquis Silver Oaks, the apartment complex from which her car was stolen.
As these tweets show, people are talking about brands online, whether or not they are listening to the conversations. If a brand is paying attention, it has the opportunity to turn a negative mention—or a passive one—into a PR win.
Beth Monaghan, principal and co-founder of social media and PR firm Inkhouse, said the LoJack example was a potentially positive situation that resulted in broader brand awareness. But there is a flip side.
“On the other, more scary side of the equation though, is the negative comment from an influencer,” she said. “When someone is angry, and feels unheard, the tendency is for them to get louder and go wider with their complaints.”
The lesson, according to Monaghan, is to always pay attention and formulate responses swiftly and carefully, and in an authentic voice.
LoJack followed that advice, and now the recovered vehicle could garner even more attention for the brand.
Stormy plans to produce a YouTube video in which she sends a message to brazen car thieves who might try to steal a car equipped with LoJack. Warnick said the company will be cautious about associating its brand with a porn star—“We’re not issuing a press release about it,” he assured—but ultimately it’s a win. Especially when Stormy is sending tweets like this one to her fan base:
That's quite the endorsement.