Three Takeaways from a Social Media CrisisFebruary, 12 2013
We’ve all seen them, a rogue tweet or Facebook post turns into a company crisis. Just a few weeks ago, HMV, a global entertainment retailer, experienced a similar situation.
HMV tweeted the post below to more than 70,000 followers around the world:
One of the 60 employees fired hijacked the company’s official Twitter account to vent her frustration.
By the time the marketing director regained control of the account and deleted the rogue tweets, the damage was already done. The tweets, and screen grabs, went viral and were shared in a matter of minutes.
Online experts attacked HMV for leaving its social media in the hands of an entry-level hire, but it’s not the only company that is guilty of this. Many large companies still delegate social media responsibilities to interns, even after stories, such as HMV, are published.
“Delegating that kind of authority to junior employees – with few or no checks or balances in place – can amount to courting disaster,” says Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite, in a recent Fast Company article.
It’s not an option to get rid of our social networks, but companies should be concerned. Holmes provides some simple steps companies can take to avert a HMV-scale social media disaster.
Consolidate Social Media Channels
Bring all of your social channels into one social media management system. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, can all be brought into one software system to easily monitor and track results of social media campaigns.
A professional, responsible manager should be in charge of all communication and be well-versed on the risks of social media. With most social media management systems, and even on social networks such as Facebook, you can give employees an all-access pass or limit their permissions. Junior employees can draft messages, but they have to go through an approval queue for senior management to sign off on before they are published. Hootsuite has this built into their paid platform and it also enables companies to assign discrete permission levels on an employee basis.
Have a Master Switch
It’s important to be able to turn your employee’s access on and off to different social media accounts. According to Holmes, the solution is single sign-on technology.
“Incorporated into enterprise-grade social media tools, single sign-on enables employees to log into social media accounts with the same username and password used for their company email account. Access can be turned on or off by a central administrator, who holds the real “keys” to the company’s social profiles,” he said.
Social media is a powerful tool for brands and individuals with a message and means to get it to their audience. Employees need social media training on everything, from the basics of how to tweet and post on Facebook, to how to leverage social media for business strategy.
However, Holmes is right on the money when he said, “Of course, technology is only as good as the people using it.”
Do you have a social media crisis plan in place?