In the age of social media, one misplaced tweet or post could cost a company millions of dollars or could cost you your job.
This week Uber found out how quickly a misplaced tweet could cost a company not only millions of dollars, but also its reputation.
When the New York taxis imposed a one hour strike at JFK to oppose Trump’s Muslim band, Uber thought it would step in and help. Offering, not only to give travelers rides, but also to forego its premium pricing. The CEO Travis Kalanick, claims he was not endorsing the Muslim band nor was he trying to break the strike, but that hasn’t stopped thousands of individuals from deleting their Uber app. Not only that, but his also presence on the President’s Strategic and Policy forum has branded him a Trump sympathizer.
Not only has the movement to #DeleteUber taken hold, but also Lyft has taken the opportunity to offer donations to the ACLU for every ride.
No matter your political affiliation, multiple lessons can be learned.
- Think through and plan all tweets.
- Know your audience.
- Take advantage of the missteps of your competitors.
At this point, its unclear as to whether or not Uber will be able to come back from this. If nothing else, it will be an expensive proposition trying to regain its reputation.
In another social media lesson, a social media manager of Frederick County in Maryland was fired after making fun a student’s spelling in a tweet. Neither the child, nor his parents complained, but the manager is now out of a job. She was new to the job and thought the school system should have given her a warning. They did not.
Social media is a powerful tool. Used incorrectly, it may be the most expensive mistake you ever make.
The news has been filled with stories about employees making comments on social media that their employers have deemed inappropriate, harmful, even libelous. In one situation, the employee accidentally used a corporate account rather than his personal account. That blunder resulted in his termination. With an infringement such as that, the company was clearly within it’s rights to terminate the employee, but what if the comments are made on a personal account. That situation is much more complicated.
It’s important that your employees know your expectations and how their actions may affect their employment. Rules and guidelines need to be put in place before a public relations crisis happens.
i worked at an organization where an employee was making negative comments about customers on her Facebook page. Although she did not identify the organization or the customers, there were details of conversations that were quite identifiable and she identified her employer on her “About” information. In addition, she made disparaging comments about her supervisor’s sexual orientation. Although inappropriate, the organization had no policy concerning this behavior and could not take action against the employee.
The first step is deciding whether or not your organization wants to be involved in monitoring employees social media accounts. As this seems daunting, many organizations decide not to deal with the situation until there is a problem.
But it’s not about monitoring accounts, it’s about setting expectations and making your employees an advocate for your business.
1) Set clear expectations for employees as to what is acceptable and what isn’t concerning company identity.
2) Encourage employees to like and share posts. Employees supporting your posts on social media will raise you in the algorithms used to display posts. Offer awards and incentives for the most active employees. I have found something as simple as candy bars can encourage employees to interact more with company social media.
3) Check with your legal department, if you have one, as to what action you can and cannot take against employees who disparage the company brand.
4) Most importantly, create a positive company environment where employees are treated fairly and want to be your corporate cheerleaders.