I like to check out what’s trending on Twitter for kicks and giggles. Sometimes you get gems like #puertoricanproblems or #unansweredhiphopquestions, which I personally found hilarious, but yesterday #hmvXFactorFiring was trending.
I would bet vast sums of money those higher up at HMV weren’t laughing.
On January 15th, HMV announced they were going into administration due to bankruptcy, a move that would put 4,350 jobs at risk and close 300 stores. Yesterday began the first round of job cuts.
However, HMV overlooked an important detail- they hadn’t revoked the fired employees’ Twitter access.
Rogue ex-employees began tweeting live from HR about the mass firings and according to The Drum ‘in the space of 15 minutes, the official account, followed by over 70,000 people’ saw these Tweets:
Someone from HMV deleted the tweets within minutes, but it was too late. ‘The tweet went viral within half an hour as it was retweeted 1,300 times in the first 30 minutes.’- The Drum
People, especially consumers, love social media for its transparency and virility. Thus far, it’s done wonders for making people feel closer to the brands they love, but the same positives can become great negatives for companies if they aren’t aware of the power of social media.
With such power, social media plans need to be in place. This means that all employes who deal with social media, be it directly or indirectly, need to know the basics of using any social media platforms.
As rudimentary as it sounds, this includes signing in and out, posting, deleting posts, private messages and how to appropriately handle positive and negative post from people.
In some cases, it may be helpful for an assigned delegate to handle such matters so that there is a consistency. This person could also create a procedural handbook for social media use, including a crisis plan.
Someone at HMV tried to soothe the damage that was done by posting several tweets:
In my opinion, by the time it was trending, it was too late. This case is a prime example of how influential social media can be, both positively and negatively. Make sure your organisation knows the ins and outs of any social media platform, not only to prevent a crisis such as this, but also to make sure you’re getting the most out of your efforts.