Long-term music retailer HMV found its Twitter account ‘hijacked’, revealing to the world that 60 staff were being made redundant in a ‘#massexecution”.
HMV were embroiled in a social media fiasco when tweets were posted to its then, 65,000 strong followers, informing them of the happenings at HMV head quarters. Tweets included “We are live tweeting from HR, where we’re all being fired!” and “sorry we’ve been quiet for so long. Under contract we’ve been unable to say a word or – more importantly – tell the truth”.
Using the hashtag #hmvXFactorFiring, the social media team at HMV, who was then revealed to be an intern, who set up the twitter page two years ago (obviously on the ball there) provided up-to-date events. The best one having to be:
I think that shows the generational gap that exists between the, dare I say it, old dogs and the new digitally connected marketers.
Bad news travels faster than good news, so it’s vital for the reputation of a company, that social media is handled by those with the right etiquette. A big message that has comes out of this crisis is that social media is, hands down, an essential part of the communications mix in any organisation, and it cannot be ignored. Social media strategies should be discussed at the next meeting, not just flogged off to a junior or an intern to handle, because ‘they’re young and like that kind of stuff’.
The offending tweets on the verified page were hurriedly deleted by a member of staff but not before becoming viral with a swarm of re-tweets and favourites by thousands. The intern, who, hit’s it on the head with how big social media really is and that it’s not the ‘new kid’ anymore, took responsibility on their personal twitter.
If an organisation is ever in a pickle where bad news is on the horizon, the best things to do are:
- Listen to the audience and measure their concerns – they are there for a reason.
- Be transparent in what is being said – don’t spin the truth.
- Public Relations are professionals with this – let them handle the social networks.
When are people finally going to realise that social media can make or break a company. It’s not just a way to creep on your ex!
Meera Patel – Social Media Content Assistant