February 8th 2010
Social Media Optimisation News
An apparently disgruntled Vodafone employee posted an offensive message containing crude sexual references to the firm's 8,643 followers on Friday (February 5th).
The telecoms giant moved fast to attempt to repair the damage by immediately deleting the tweet, issuing an apology and suspending the employee responsible for the digital misdemeanour.
However, the event highlights the fact that while social media tools are useful for people working in website promotion, the ability to reach so many people with the mere click of a mouse-button clearly has its cons as well as its pros.
So how can those working in website marketing
reduce the risk of this happening to them?
According to Sharlyn Lauby, president of employee training specialists Internal Talent Management, the key is to foster a "positive culture" among employees.
"Keeping your employees engaged and letting them know how they fit into the corporate culture goes a long way," she tells Mashable.com.
However, Ms Lauby says that in an increasingly transparent world of real-time digital information, it is inevitable that negative press will occasionally arise - if not from a firm's employees then from its customers.
In this instance, she says, the issue is less about the fault itself and more about the reaction which follows.
Here, people involved in website marketing
must out themselves in "damage control mode".
Ms Lauby advises firms to monitor social media sites 24/7 and, if a problem should occur, to respond quickly "with a consistent message".
Vodafone got this right by sending out an apology to individual followers who had complained about the offensive tweet posted on the firm's Twitter page.
If a mistake is made, own up to it, says Ms Lauby. She uses the example of the furniture maker Habitat, which was recently caught spamming Twitter and responded with an immediate aplogy.
According to Ms Lauby, honesty is always the best policy.She also recommends training employees on the proper use of social media tools.
"Your employees represent your organisation, and if they have a solid, credible personal brand, it will carry over to the company’s image," she explains.
Finally, it may also be a good idea to limit access to the sites and make passwords available only to a handful of trustworthy employees.