Real Social – Your Employees and Social Media
As often as we’ve addressed online reputation management here, it should go without saying that having a solid social media policy in place for your business and employees is absolutely necessary. There is no better way to ensure that your company’s reputation isn’t sabotaged from within, whether on purpose or by accident.
But what about social media use outside of or away from work? Is it intrusive or overreaching to monitor your employees’ online activity when it isn’t work related, or to have a policy that requires certain standards at all times and in all situations, work-related or not?
Unhappy New Year
For many, the answer to the above question would be an immediate “yes” – meaning that what they choose to do outside of work is their own business. And from many points of view, that is completely justified. However, what if that activity damages your company? Would that change your opinion? Here is a good example how your staff can have an influence on you business in a social space even when they are not representing you.
On New Year’s Eve, a young woman decided to do it up right, spending US$700 for a night out including an expensive dinner at a bar and grill. That night out was “ruined”, according to the woman’s Facebook post, “by watching a dead person being wheeled out from an overdose”. “The manager also told us someone dying was more important then [sic] us being there making us feel like our business didn’t matter,” the woman complained, as the staff had turned their attention to the other patron rather than working out what she said was her “messed up” bill.
As it turned out, the other patron was an older woman who had not overdosed, but who had rather had a heart attack. Fortunately, she survived, but not without the assistance of emergency personnel and the attention given by the restaurant’s staff. The younger woman’s post garnered the negative attention it deserved from other Facebook users, but so did the beauty salon where she worked (as in, she doesn’t work there anymore).
In fact, the young woman was not even an employee of Serenity Salon, the salon in question, but instead merely rented a booth there to service her customers. Nonetheless, the salon’s Facebook page began receiving one bad review after another because of the woman’s insensitive post on her own account.
Thankfully, after more than 160 negative reviews were posted in response, others came in to defend the salon, explaining that she was merely a renter there and that her selfishness and rude behaviour shouldn’t reflect badly on the salon itself, which had nothing to do with the situation. The good news is that the incident led to raising a good deal of money for the older woman who had suffered the heart attack, to help her with her medical expenses. The rude renter subsequently lost her lease in the salon as well, so justice was served.
Yet this could have turned out much worse for the salon. Sure, that many bad reviews will undoubtedly leave a mark, but they have recovered. Would your business be so lucky in a similar situation? That’s a question that can’t be answered until and unless you face such a situation, but the possibility for long-term damage can’t be ignored. Perhaps you should rethink your social media policy to cover outside-of-work posts, just in case.