“If your organization’s employees aren’t on your side, it doesn’t matter how good your relationships with other publics are.” -Guth & Marsh
This is a concept that I wish most organizations would understand—especially when it comes to social media.
While many organizations are struggling with the notion of being social, they cannot idly sit by until they determine the best course of action. At the least, they need to implement a social media policy (with the help of a consultant or agency with actual social media experience, of course) as a first course of action to protect their brand. This is important because employees might be using social networks and potentially identifying themselves as employees of said brand.
In today’s social world, an organization’s publics do not end with employees or the media. There are shareholder, stakeholder, government (national, state or local), and latent publics that an organization didn’t even know existed but now come out of the woodwork because they are offended by an employee’s actions or comments, which is exactly what happened with Chipotle’s recent social media debacle.
Today, many employees feel entitled to start, build and maintain a personal brand. However, what happens when an employee’s “brand” runs counter-culture to the organization’s brand? What happens when an employee does not truly understand the concept of branding (i.e. personal branding is not traditional branding)? What happens when organizations are so busy pushing their messaging—internally and externally—that employees are confused in regards to what the organization’s brand stands for?
A lack of brand understanding and protection can be even more troublesome when you sell and own a franchise. As we saw with Domino’s, the online behavior of franchise employees can and will have a residual effect on the corporate brand, but also a ripple effect on all of the other franchisees.
Food for thought (pardon the pun), should organizations have policies that address the “off-the-clock” social activities of their employees who use social networks? What would you suggest? What have you experienced?
All Facebook: Chipotle’s Facebook Page Consumed By Cat Controversy
“Since the company and employee posted the claim that a hacker approved the post about the cat getting run over, there’s been a flurry of comments on the matter in addition to the hundreds of direct responses to the post claiming a hacker was involved.”
(Dear Chipotle: This is why your marketing, PR and social media people need to understand how technology, specifically the Internet, works. Hackers don’t “approve” they just do what it is they set out to do.)
“What did that hacker do? Steal information? Post embarrassing photos? No, they posted, from an Android phone no less, about how she just hit a cat with her car. Then, the “hacker” returned to the same Facebook thread, the morning AFTER the alleged incident to continue the conversation. What you don’t see in the screengrab above is that she even posted at 2:43 the next afternoon. Seems like a plausible story right? And by plausible of course, I mean whomever at Chipotle actually bought that story is a grade-A moron. Yet the company came out and said the story was “completely false.” Not that they were looking into it, but that nope, the wizards in their PR department were totally sure that this was a malicious Facebook hacking.”
(Don’t you just love the use of “wizards” here?! I don’t know about you, but the notion of “PR Wizards” will have me chuckling all day.)
Entrepreneur: Franchises Go Social
“Social media may be a brave new frontier, but going rogue isn’t a good idea. ’You still have a brand to maintain and a franchisor to answer to,’ Segreto says. Some larger franchises, such as Tasti D-Lite and Express Employment, actually have managers working in social media. Emerson encourages franchisees to get involved in social media, but to repurpose content that is developed by the company’s headquarters.”
Social Media Explorer: The Franchise And Social Media: SME-TV With Ruby Tuesday
“…[Ruby Tuesday] brought social media in-house because they want someone who is infused with the brand.”
[Image: Fine Art America]