Don’t make this crisis management mistake, control your social media accounts

Chances are, unless you’re a very small organization, someone (or several someones) besides the CEO or president is running your official social media accounts. In fact, it’s quite common for higher ups in organizations we speak with to not actually know the login information for critical sites like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

So what?

Don’t think this is a problem? You’ll change your mind after reading this excerpt, from a Forbes article by Susan Adams, that describes the internal Twitter hijacking by an employee who was part of a large layoff at UK retailer HMV:

Over a period of around 20 minutes, she sent out a series of notes expressing her rising sense of alarm to HMV’s 61,500 followers (that number has since risen to 73,350). Rose admitted that it was unusual to use the company Twitter feed to express her views, but, she wrote, “when the company you dearly love is being ruined,” she felt it was justified. “There are over 60 of us being fired at once!” she wrote. “Mass execution, of loyal employees who love the brand.”

One of the most entertaining tweets that came through before HMV took back the account and deleted the offending tweets: “Just overheard our marketing director (he’s staying, folks) ask ‘How do I shut down Twitter?’”

We’d say the retailer actually got off VERY lightly in this situation. Clearly the employee really did care for HMV, because with that kind of access they could have seriously defaced all of the company’s social media pages, deleted followers, sent offensive messages out to major contacts — the list of potential damage is pretty much endless.

The lesson

Control your social media accounts! Many organizations change login information for computer networks before making layoffs. Heck, a lot of places will escort even non-threatening employees from the front door to their office and back out again when they’re let go, so why would you leave anyone you’re about to piss off with access to a tool as critical to business as social media?

Beyond that, make sure that at least a couple different high-placed members of your organization have current login information for all company accounts at all times and are trained sufficiently in how to personally use them in the case that you too find yourself in the midst of an internal social media hijacking.

Don’t be the dinosaur asking “How do I shut down Twitter?” Social media is a core part of our world, if you’re still behind the times then get off your rear, get up to speed and protect your organization.