The HMV Twitter incident.
On the 31st January we witnessed an interesting incident with the HMV Twitter account. HMV were making an announcement to their staff about necessary steps in restructuring the business which would involve job losses, but their Twitter account started tweeting using the hashtag #hmvxfactorfiring. The intern managing their Twitter account was included in the job losses and was tweeting while the announcement was being made.
There are many lessons to be learnt.
- Always plan ahead about how to handle the social media impact of important announcements like job losses, even if you DO NOT have owned social media channels.
- Devise plans with your PR and communication teams so that everyone knows what to do when a story breaks in social media as well as with the traditional news agencies.
- Use a social media listening tool to get immediate feedback on what is being published around your announcement.
- Create a social media team with more than one person with access to the Twitter and Facebook accounts etc. There should be a full time person in charge of these important customer touch points.
- Conduct a risk analysis assessment before going live with social media.
How to avoid a crisis when Twitter goes bad.
Taken from the Social Media Jedi YouTube Channel
How important was social media to HMV in the first place?
The person who tweeted on the HMV Twitter account using the #hmvxfactorfiring hashtag was Poppy Rose Cleere, aged 21. She has given us some insight into how social media was handled by HMV on her own Twitter account following the HMV tweets. She revealed in her tweets that she “assumed” the role of managing the Twitter account. She has co-operated in the handover of the accounts.
To her credit, she has said that she really tired to educate HMV about the importance of social media. She talked about social media as “a tool to build and strengthen the customer relationship, and to gain invaluable real-time feedback from the consumers..”
Have they learnt now?
HMV did not ignore that the crisis episode happened. They tweeted this “Our @hmvtweets picked up a lot of attention today, it’s clearly been a tough day for us all at hmv, please stick with us”. Followed by “There have been job losses today, but not in our stores. We are still open for business, thx for your continued support #savehmv”.
Then they tweeted this “One of our departing colleagues was understandably upset. We’re still here thou, thx for supporting hmv thro these challenging times”.
Notice the introduction of a positive hashtag, #savehmv
Have a look at the tweets on #savehmv. Much better than the sentiment behind the #hmvxfactorfiring. Maybe one more company that has had a lesson in social media management that they will never forget. Who knows, maybe in one year from now they will be guest speakers at social media events talking about how this has been a valuable lesson and how they survived it.
The importance of a social media playbook.
How many companies have a social media playbook in place? How many people even know what one is? Here is an example. The HMV Twitter incident is the latest in a long line of case studies of how not to handle social media. Almost all employees have a smart phone that can write tweets, or they know a colleague who could. There is no excuse in 2013 not to be prepared, even if you do not have owned social media accounts. Which company will be next to learn about the power of social media like HMV? Maybe your company…
About The Author:
Clive Roach is the social media strategist for Philips Healthcare. He is active with strategy development, activation, governance, projects and educational training activities for all aspects of social media within Philips Healthcare. Clive has been working in the eMarketing area since 1997, and previously held roles in engineering, design and sales. Clive is also practical in addition to his current strategic role. In addition to this blog, he tweets daily on three Twitter accounts, has two Facebook fan pages, Google+, Pinterest, So.cl, Instagram, and participates in many other social networks.
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