Wow – Watch Employees Unravel Your Own Brand with Social Media Blunders

Nicolette Lemmon, President/Founder

My Marketing Strategy

Nicolette Lemmon, President & Founder

In a personal blog post, a credit union receptionist rants about her job and the dislike of many parts of it. Someone who has set up searches on the Internet for “Credit Union” highlights the blog post after it pops up in his Google Alerts. He then blasts it out to his 600+ Twitter following. These financial marketers and social media hounds quickly descend on the blog and leave comments to the blogger about what bad taste the post was and horrified, the blogger quickly posts an apology as well as decides to kill her “private” blog forever.

Wow, two things were made very clear from that scenario. First, whatever you put out on the net, thinking it is private is pure folly. The second is that there are any number of critics that will make it their business to police the social media airwaves and make mincemeat of everyone along the way, including your brand.

While I admit to being intrigued with the whole unraveling of this blog post, it begs the point of this post – educate your employees about the potential dangers in social media!

For blogging, twittering, Facebook posts, MySpace posts, and other social media havens, your employees must understand that they cannot treat any of these as personal or private. In addition, provide some key guidelines of what your organization feels is the best way to treat social media networks.

If have set up social media guidelines for employees, what do they focus upon?

3 thoughts on “Wow – Watch Employees Unravel Your Own Brand with Social Media Blunders

  1. It didn’t show up in my Google Alerts. Someone from CUNA first shared it on Twitter. That’s how I found out about it.

    Then, people I know started leaving stern comments on this gal’s blog. I asked them to “give her a chance” before publicly crucifying her.

    I also thought it would be a good idea if she pull the blog post down, because it wasn’t doing anyone any good. I picked up the phone and called her. It took less than 5 minutes to track her down and give her a heads-up.

    She had never heard of Twitter. Didn’t know about Google Alerts. She had no idea her blog was public. She thought only her few friends could see/read it. She was shocked, horrified, embarrassed, ashamed, etc. She pulled the post down while we were on the phone.

    The bad news is how fast something like this can travel on the internet. Between all the different people tweeting about it — and now, this is the third blog post I’ve read about it — I’m guessing the story has reached around 5,000 people.

    The good news is that these are all pretty much industry insiders. The damage done to the specific credit union in this case was extremely minimal. None of these industry insiders are going to fault the credit union for the foolish act of a single employee. It may be a little embarrassing, but really little (if any) harm was done.

    Ultimately I think everyone is a little wiser having seen or read what they have about this situation.

    • So true, Jeffry, about the pitfalls of all social media. You were right to council her on pulling down the post at least because social media is uncensored and wide open to the world. All companies need to be coaching employees about the public aspects of everything they post online and that even emails are not private. We found Tweet Deck searches and Google Alerts keep us informed for our clients. Tweet Deck also uncovered some very concerning tweets that Kelly used in her blog post that highlight how important monitoring is.

    • Jeffry, while I’m happy to hear that the damage done to the credit union in this situation was minimal, I think Nicolette’s point is that financial institutions need to have clear social media guidelines in place for their employees. Even if they do not wish to participate in social media, they need to aware that some of their employees are. I believe Nicolette’s goal is to have them think proactively instead of having to deal with a crisis later on.

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