Tesla ramps up communications as Elon Musk becomes more controversial

Data shows that Tesla has significantly ramped up its own external communications over the last few months as Elon Musk becomes more controversial.

Last month, I wrote an op-ed titled “Tesla badly needs to bring back its PR departmen“‘ about why I think the automaker needs to bring back its PR dept that it dissolved back in 2020.

My main point was that since then, most of Tesla’s public communications have gone through Elon Musk who is becoming an increasingly controversial and polarizing character for many people, and the company would benefit from more robust direct communications with the public.

Now Tesla has not reinstated its US or global PR team, at least not yet, but the automaker has certainly significantly increased its own communications over the last few months.

We noticed that Tesla has been increasingly tweeting about its products lately. Tesla normally would only tweet about new products or features, but over the last few months, the automaker has started to often post new threads that feature existing products and features.

For example, Tesla posted a whole thread about its track mode today:

This wasn’t usual for Tesla until a few months ago, so Electrek wondered if it was just in our heads or if the data actually backed it up.

Sure enough, data shows that Tesla has massively ramped up its tweeting over the last three months:

Tesla has also ramped up its use of Instagram around the same time. The automaker also regularly uses Weibo, but that has always been the case as a different team handles Chinese communications.

Furthermore, Tesla also ramped up its blog posting effort. Before September, Tesla had only posted two blog posts in 2022 – one to introduce track mode in Plaid vehicles, and one to defend itself against a California Department of Fair Employment and Housing lawsuit.

But from September until this month, Tesla published six blog posts on its website.

The timing of this change appears to match CEO Elon Musk becoming increasingly controversial.

Over the last few months, surveys have shown that Tesla’s reputation has been going down, and the stock price is crashing further than the rest of the industry.

Many people have associated the trend with Musk becoming increasingly political on Twitter and alienating a big part of Tesla’s userbase – namely liberals – who buy EVs at a much higher rate than the conservatives.

Electrek’s Take

Musk was always the defacto Tesla spokesperson, but when Tesla had a global PR department, the automaker had much stronger public communications that didn’t have to always go through the CEO.

Since dissolving the PR department, Musk’s Twitter page has become the source of 99% of Tesla’s official communications.

It makes sense for the company to build a stronger voice of its own as many people don’t feel like following Musk on the social media platform.

If you were there for his frequent updates and comments about Tesla products, those are now are few and far between Musk’s political comments, conspiracy theories, and concerns about the “woke mind virus.”

I am going to get excited about Musk on Twitter once he seems to be more excited about Tesla launching the Cybertruck than the next QAnon drop.

That’s obviously a joke, but sometimes his Twitter feels like that.

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