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Social media and business reputation

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Monday April 20, 2009 )

Never before have so few been able to do so much damage to so many. Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing isn’t it? It’s just a shame that some enough haven’t matured enough to use it wisely.

I wrote recently about the Domino’s incident which was absolutely disgusting. The fact that just a couple of workers could have such an effect so quickly should be making all business owners quiver in their booties. What were these people thinking?

Social media services such as Youtube, Facebook and Twitter, as great as they are, are such a powerful weapons and companies need to get policies in place rapidly to make it very clear to workers about the rules of the road in relation to commenting on their employers on public forums.

It’s not about cracking the whip or censorship, just a bit of darned common sense.

Australia’s largest telecommunications company, Telstra, has become the first major Australian company to give its employees guidelines on how to behave on social media like Twitter, Facebook and Myspace; based on 3 simple concepts – responsibility, respect and representation.

Employees using sites in their Telstra capacity need to reveal who they are, ensure they keep company confidences and treat other users with respect. Employees who are using social media for personal use have been asked to include a disclaimer if they talk about Telstra; to the effect of “the views in this post are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Telstra”.

I’m not a big fan of Telstra at times; but I agree 100% with their approach and I’d urge all companies large and small to take a look at their guidelines which can be downloaded here (PDF). A pro-active measure such as this might help prevent not only damage to your own brand, but having to dismiss employees who might get a little bit overzealous in their “harmless fun”.


Online reputation management


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