Given the significant impact hat Twitter has had around the world, it might be surprising to realize that
the micro-blogging platform has only
been around since 2006. Today it has
more than 500 million registered
But while Twitter is one of several
social media tools that have gained
fame for allowing people to share
observations and photos in near real
time—particularly during the Arab
Spring of 2011—it is also being used
frequently by companies to keep “
followers” up to date with product news,
special events and more. It’s the “and
more” that can be a concern, however.
Organizations need to be concerned
about what they’re saying, who’s saying it and how those comments might
affect the company’s reputation.
Strategy, policy minimize risks
Kim Matlock is the senior director
of digital and customer relationships
management at Hard Rock International, where she oversees social media
development and execution across 58
countries, encompassing about 8 million fans. In addition to its corporate
Twitter page, Hard Rock has more
than 100 different Twitter handles; the
company’s individual hotel, restaurant
and casino properties are able to establish their own accounts.
It’s a massive undertaking, and one
that would seem to be subject to a great
deal of risk, but “we really haven’t had
too much of an issue,” Matlock says.
“We have what we call a response
protocol that helps tell our folks how
to respond in social media and when
to escalate or move the issue up to a
higher level,” she explains. “And we do
have social monitoring tools that are
deployed globally, so it is the responsi-
bility of all of our property managers
to be responsible for answering in
social media with that engagement
channel—they own their reputations
for their locations.”
Watching out for the brand is key
from a corporate perspective, but it’s
critical in regulated industries like
financial services, where sometimes
innocuous-seeming comments could
run afoul of regulators.
tweet with confidence
Twitter is everywhere, but it’s not foolproof, and a lot of damage
can be done in 140 characters. Cone Communications’ Vice Pres
ident of New Media Alex Nicholson and Chief Reputation Officer
Mike Lawrence share some of the platform’s biggest pitfalls.
• Shooting first, asking questions later. Sometimes the desire to
be first means inaccurate or murky information making its way
across the Twitterverse. And once it’s out there, it’s hard to pull
it back. “Retweeting things can be an implied endorsement, and
if you don’t check to make sure that the content that you’re
retweeting is accurate, you could be at risk,” Nicholson says.
• Tweeting from the wrong account. Be sure that key messages
come from the right source—for example, from the corporate
Twitter account, rather than an executive’s personal account—
• Too much access. Organizations often give more than one person
access to the corporate Twitter account, making it possible for
former (or disgruntled) employees with the password to do dam
age, or for the account password to be otherwise compromised.
• Celebrity mentions. The use (or perceived use) of celebrity
mentions to boost the brand is a new concern, says Nicholson.
“A lot of brands would like to tweet at, let’s say, Justin Bieber, in
the hope that maybe he will retweet them. Some legal depart
ments in our clients’ organizations are saying don’t do that—
it’s akin to using their likeness without their permission—and
see it as an inherent risk.”