Reputation Management in the Twitter age

It’s not been a great month for HMV, let’s be honest, but this latest backlash from employees on Twitter is an interesting example on how not to manage your company’s reputation.

Angry employees briefly took over the feed to vent their annoyance at the current redundancy situation. Tweets with the hashtag #hmvXFactorFiring appeared saying things like 60 ‘loyal employees who love the brand’ were about to be fired and ‘the company you dearly love is being ruined’.

Once executives caught wind of these tweets, they were quickly deleted but not fast enough for them not to be captured by the Twittersphere, and then of course, the media.

HMV tweet

This prompted an official statement on redundancies to confirm the reports. However, and more interestingly, HMV would not comment on the Twitter hijack. Was that wise? Not in my view.

The about-to-be-fired employees clearly felt very passionately about HMV and there is no doubt that it has always been a very likable brand. Instead of ignoring the comments on Twitter in media statements, HMV could’ve acknowledged the passion from their employees and sympathised with them at the situation. We all know that making redundancies is never a nice thing for anyone involved – no-one could hold that against them.

That said, four hours after the first tweets there was a tweet posted by someone else acknowledging what was being said earlier.

The key learning from all of this? Every company should have a carefully thought-out crisis communication plan in place – especially when you can pre-empt the situation, like in HMV’s redundancies case. In today’s world, this includes gaining control over and managing all social media feeds. Oh and don’t forget to change the passwords so it doesn’t get hijacked!

This post was written by Charlotte.

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