Most businesses and organizations have jumped on the social media bandwagon due to effective communication and ease of dispensing information to notify consumers, visitors, followers and prospective consumers of their developments via these mediums. By using social media platforms, they have been able to increase brand awareness and exposure due to the high traffic in users. However, companies fail to remember that their employees are the ones behind these social media accounts. These employees are the ones in charge of delivering information, feedback and suggestions to their consumers. Also,research have shown that the 5 main reasons for consumers following companies on social media are :
- Promotion and Discounts
- For latest Discounts
- Customer Service
- Entertaining Content
- Ability to offer Feedback
Employees of the company are the ones responsible for all postings on the various social media. They represent the company to offer feedback, handle customer requests, complaints as well as share timely updates on the company’s promotions. Internal disagreements within the company can cause a disgruntled employee to act recklessly in an attempt to get back at the former. Including employees who can’t control their frustrations when dealing with customer complaints and behave in an unethical manner. Thus, the company faces an ethical challenge of integrity risk due to the thoughtless actions of an employee.
There have been several notable cases of social media meltdowns including HMV and Nestle. HMV is a British retailing company selling books, video games, music, technology and many more. A manager of HMV who was sacked along with 180 over employees had access to the company’s twitter account and she launched a barrage of tweets during the entire process. Poppy Rose’s reason for doing so was due to her outrage and grievance over the sudden firing of her and her colleagues that she felt there was no firm basis for. As a result, she inflicted damage on the company’s reputation as well as her own.
Another case of employee misbehavior on social media platform was under Nestle. Nestle had initially uploaded a statement for their supporters to refrain from using a modified logo of the company as their display picture or else their comments would be omitted. However, Nestle received violent reactions from several followers over the request, for which the employee behind the account retorted in a very distasteful and unprofessional manner. The issue received backlash from the public over how unpleasantly they handled the negative responses. Since then, Nestle had to endure the damage done to the company’s image.
Companies must take into consideration the severity of employees misusing corporate social media accounts. They should monitor employee postings done on the various social media platforms to ensure no mistakes are made. Access to these accounts have to be well controlled, every now and then the company should change their passwords to these platforms when an employee has been dismissed or has left voluntarily.
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RICK BROIDA. (2010). Nestle’s Facebook Page: How a Company Can Really Screw Up Social Media. Available: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/nestles-facebook-page-how-a-company-can-really-screw-up-social-media/. Last accessed 9 Nov 2015.
David Vinjamuri . (2011). Ethics and the Five Deadly Sins of Social Media. Available: http://www.forbes.com/sites/annlatham/2015/11/08/8-secrets-smart-people-know-about-time-management/. Last accessed 9 Nov 2015.
https://www.ibe.org.uk/userassets/briefings/ibe_briefing_22_the_ethical_challenges_of_social_media.pdf. (2015). 1st ed. [ebook] UK: Institute of Business Ethics, pp.1-4. Available at: https://www.ibe.org.uk/userassets/briefings/ibe_briefing_22_the_ethical_challenges_of_social_media.pdf [Accessed 9 Nov. 2015].
Douglas Karr. (2014). 2014 Statistics and Trends for Businesses on Social Media. Available: https://www.marketingtechblog.com/2014-statistics-trends-businesses-s ocial-media/. Last accessed 9 Nov 2015.