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Prevent Social Media Catastrophes
Posted on November 27th 2012
[Sponsored] Kenneth Cole’s Cairo catastrophe. Hollister’s model misadventure. Marc Jacobs’ “tyrant” trouble. As countless corporate victims of social media malpractice can attest, without effective security tools in place and the education to back them up, you’re playing Russian Roulette with your brand. And if reminiscing over these past Twitter meltdowns gets your heart racing, your company probably doesn’t have a proper social media security system in place.
You can delete a Tweet, that’s not the issue. If you’ve witnessed any corporate disasters on Twitter, you know that the delete button does little damage control to save a company’s reputation after a careless or offensive Tweet has been sent out to countless followers. For those who witnessed recent celebrity breakdowns on Twitter, you’ll know that once it’s out there, it can live on forever.
By the time the destructive Tweet is discovered and deleted by a frantic public relations or marketing department, it has spread like wildfire across Twitter and onto other social networks, possibly catching media attention along the way. Once it's out, it's out and social media managers need to immediately address the issue.
The American Red Cross found themselves in a similar situation last year, when an embarrassing tweet was picked up by the media. With some quick thinking and help from HootSuite, they managed to turn lemons into lemonade, raising money and collecting blood donations.
Companies need to put the safety on to prevent employees from pulling the trigger on ill-considered jokes and off-brand messages meant for personal accounts. Since everyone makes mistakes, the right platform is a critical part of any enterprise’s approach to social media. HootSuite, for example, provides a secure profiles function that prompts users to confirm posts before sending from an organization’s account.
This layer of frontline security should rest on a solid foundation of permissions control. If interns, contractors and external collaborators are members of your social teams, consider giving them limited permissions and leave the final publishing power in executive hands. The key is to create a structured and secure workflow that supports your organization’s social media efforts.
If you’d like to learn more about HootSuite’s security features, read our Security HootGuide.
Last February, designer Kenneth Cole showed that social media management isn’t just a matter of keeping interns on a tight leash. His offensive Tweet about the uprising in Egypt was not written by an intern, but by Kenneth himself. In hindsight, everyone (including the CEO) with access to your company’s secure social profiles should undergo an accreditation process to ensure that he or she understands the potential for risks and how to avoid them.
Likewise, ongoing social education programs must be in place to keep both employees and executives aware of all relevant legal compliance issues. Earlier this year, the CFO of clothing retailer Francesca’s carelessly hinted at undisclosed earnings numbers in a Tweet. He found himself out of a job, while other CFOs sought clarification of social media compliance policies.
Your security and compliance policies should be completely aligned, because a weakness in one can undermine the other. With poor security, your company could suffer something even worse than a brand-damaging gaffe: a legal nightmare. And what good is security if management cannot maintain compliance standards? Is your organization compliant and secure?
More and more businesses are realizing the enormous potential of social media in marketing, talent recruitment, customer service, sales and countless other activities. At HootSuite, we believe the power of social is when it’s implemented organization-wide, as it gives companies the greatest power to reach customers, publish content and drive business objectives from the ground up. The leaders in social business succeed because they take social seriously, and know that the time for ad hoc experimentation is over. They’re deploying scalable platforms and backing them up with educated people and robust procedures. If you want to keep your company gaffe-free, you should do the same.
To learn more about social media best practices, download our free Social Business Kit.
A true social business is backed by solid procedures and educated employees, and HootSuite Enterprise helps keep your brand secure and engagement authentic. If your company is looking to scale up its social media activity without losing control, contact us at hootsuite.com/enterprise.