Joy loves Facebook. She spends most nights catching up with friends and shares her day with them. She mentions a new product she’s developing for her employer, proud that she thought of a unique positioning that’ll make her company millions. Her friends reward her by ‘Liking’ and sharing her post. Unfortunately, a competitor hears the conversation and changes their marketing strategy, fowling the efforts of Joy’s employer to capitalize on their new product. Ultimately, Joy’s firm decides the product is a failure and stops making it, costing 450 jobs.
OK, so this is a made up scenario, but it could happen. Or, a disgruntled employee says your brand sucks or dished the CEO. Or an employee says something that’s racially or culturally insensitive. Or, someone uses the firms’ social platforms (like their Twitter or Facebook page) and says something insulting about the firm or its customers. These are real situations reported as failures in social media.
This raises two questions:
Would you even know Joy’s actions contributed to the product’s failure?
What can you do to Joy for her loose tongue?
Answering the questions in order, how would you even find out about Joy sharing proprietary information? Not knowing about this accidental sharing, you’d make the wrong attribution regarding why your new product fail. You might think the new product failed because it lacked a critical feature, for instance. This inaccuracy would lead to long-term problems when you develop new products adding the feature which was never needed in the first place.
Plus, without effective monitoring, you won’t know about the problem so you can fix the leak so it won’t happen again.
And, it’s harder than you think to “hear” what people are saying about your brand because the internet is just too big with too many conversations happening in too many place. You need good software and a cohesive plan to monitor what’s being said about your brand.
Sadly, the answer may be nothing — especially if it was a mistake.
Having a non-disclosure agreement as part of your employment contract may provide some action against the employee, but the harm has already been done.
Adding a social media policy and required employee training to your employment contract provides a pro-active approach to avoid inappropriate actions in social media. Thus, the firm may avoid embarrassment and failure.
Recently, I shared my take on what your social media policy should contain.
So, stay in touch to see more about social media policy. We’ll launch a new product in June to protect you from such social media policies.