Has a Twitter-Hijacking HMV Employee Actually Bred Boon for Her Ex-Employer?

Yesterday the UK-based entertainment retailer HMV reportedly let go of 50-60 employees, at least a portion of which had been responsible for their social media management. But it looks like the head honchos forgot to pull access to the official HMV Twitter account before doing the honors, and at least one of the understandably disgruntled employees took full advantage of the blunder.

Hopping on the company’s Twitter account, former employee Poppy Rose Cleere notified the world of her misfortune in an attempt to “show them the true power and importance of social media.” And show them she did.

What Ms. Cleere may not realize is that her bold attempts to expose HMV’s ruthless layoffs have actually caused a huge spike in the entertainment giant’s Twitter following. HMV opened its doors on Thursday with around 61,500 followers, and in less than 24 hours they’re now sitting pretty with 73,351. That’s nearly 12,000 new followers overnight (a rise of 16%).

And these followers all seem to be legit. We can immediately discount the theory that HMV has added a surge of fake followers: according to Status People’s Fake Follower Check tool, the company’s Twitter following is only 4% fabricated. Four percent of 73,000 happens to be only 2,920, so that accounts for only a fraction of the new growth and was likely present long before the incident. Not to mention that HMV just got rid of the people who may have known how to hook them up with counterfeit followers.

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The attention is still pouring in. Since I first read the news a couple hours ago, HMV acquired 40 new follows. But one may question how this could have positive impact since they’ve been compromised and criticized with news spreading about the gaffe. The company is in an unsatisfactory financial state after a collapse earlier last month, but hope is on the horizon after restructuring specialist Hilco picked up the tab on HMV’s debt in an effort to save the business.

With what looks like good fortune in the future, HMV could make great use of a swelling social media fanbase. It’s more than likely that the thrill of the rogue tweets will dissipate in mere days (as these incidents usually do), and the company will be left with a super-sized clean slate of marketing potential.

So was it worth it? Was the valiant last stand of an HMV employee a crushing blow to the company’s reputation, or might the big boost in Twitter followers benefit HMV’s social media outreach once the sensational news blows over?

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