How your employees can land you in court through social media

Posted by on Apr 17, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

How your employees can land you in court through social media

Are you liable if one of your employees writes something bad on social media? As the Carphone Warehouse found, the answer is definitely ‘yes’.

By guest blogger Liz Strama, HR specialist.

Have you ever been fraped? That’s when your ‘friends’ access your social media account and write something embarrassing. That’s what happened to Abraham Otomewo. He was a manager in a Carphone Warehouse in London when two of his colleagues took his mobile phone without his permission and posted a comment on his Facebook page that said:

“Finally came out of the closest. I am gay and proud”.

Otomewo is not gay and did not believe that his colleagues thought he was gay. So when he was sacked by Carphone Warehouse on an unrelated matter, he brought up the fraping incident at his unfair dismissal tribunal.

The tribunal accepted he was “embarrassed” and “distressed” by the Facebook post. The tribunal described the actions of his colleagues as an “unnecessary and unwarranted intrusion into his private life on a public space”.

 

Regardless of who had posted the comment, the tribunal ruled that Carphone Warehouse was liable for its employees’ conduct.

 

So should business owners worry about what their employees are doing on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter? Clearly the answer is yes. Employers are liable if their employees write something derogatory on social media sites about someone linked to the business (another employee, a customer, a supplier etc.). Even if the employee writes the remarks outside of business hours and off business premises, the employer can still be liable.

 

carphonewarehouseSo how can you protect yourself? The easiest way is to start with a social media policy that is given to all employees. Your policy should cover all aspects of how you expect employees to behave. Even if the employee is not making reference to your business, they still need to behave in an acceptable manner on social media.

As an employer, you have responsibilities and you have to protect your reputation. Like it or not, your employees are an extension of your company image, brand and reputation. Comments they make can be linked back to your business and, in extreme cases, may significantly damage the business.

However, if an employer has a social media policy in place, episodes like this could be avoided as the employees would know it was against their employment rules to post such comments.

The message to employers is clear – protect yourselves by having clear policies in place and don’t let your employees risk ruining the reputation you’ve worked so hard to build up!

Liz StramaLiz Strama is a HR specialist with HR Protected in Burton-Upon-Trent in Staffordshire. You can find out more about HR Protected here.

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What should I do if someone complains on social media?

Posted by on Jan 27, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

What should I do if someone complains on social media?

“If I go on social media, my customers will use it as a way to bad-mouth me.”

It’s one of the most common reasons companies tell us they have for resisting the jump onto Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Business owners fear if they create a social media account, they will be faced with a deluge of moans and groans from disgruntled people.

Is that a reason for not being on social media?

Well no, but there are some important things to think about first.

The most important point is that if you’re not on social media, how do you know what people are saying about you?

When somebody makes a complaint, instead of writing it on your Facebook page or directing a tweet to you, they are letting their friends and followers know instead.

So when it comes to you sorting out the problem, you can’t. Because you don’t even know they’re upset. And what’s better – a dissatisfied customer who you can try and turn around, or a dissatisfied customer who tells everyone he knows how bad you are – with no chance of reply?

Ironic door signThe other point to consider is, how many complaints are you expecting? If you fear it’s going to be a lot, then you need to think seriously before entering the social world. Who’s going to respond to the complaints? Have they got the right skills? How quickly will you reply? What will the process be?

They may be difficult questions to answer but that shouldn’t put you off social media. If you want to be seen as a caring, responsive company, then there is no option but to be on social. It’s just like every element of business – don’t do it unless you’re going to do it right.

We like Bplans flowchart (below) which helps when it comes to responding on social media. What do you think of it?

And if you’d like help taking those first steps into the social media world – and doing it properly – then give us a call on 01332 776910 or 0115 828 8242. We can share the many stories of how we’ve tackled reputation management issues on behalf of our clients!

Social-Media-Response-Tree

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Is it worth investing in Pinterest?

Posted by on Dec 22, 2014 in Blog | 1 comment

Is it worth investing in Pinterest?

Should you create yet another social media account?

Pinterest has grabbed the interest of people everywhere, particularly women. As the name suggests, the network is all about pinning things you find interesting on the web onto your own virtual pin board.

But is Pinterest just about women storing up chocolate cake recipes, archiving ideas for their ideal home or dreaming about their fairy tale wedding?

No. These women (and men use the network too) are in buying mode. Research proves that Pinterest sparks more online purchases than any other social network. And what’s more 29% of Pinterest users are in the highest income bracket… so may potentially have more money to spend.

For businesses, the beauty of Pinterest is that you can ‘pin’ products which link directly to your website. With just two clicks, users can see your product up close and then click to be at the checkout.

So is Pinterest right for every business?

Do Pinterest users buy productsNot quite. One of the keys to using social media effectively is not spreading yourself too thinly. In other words, it may be best to manage one or two social networks properly rather than dabbling in all of them. So, visual, creative businesses with really great-looking products to sell could benefit from concentrating some of their social media efforts on Pinterest. Users love sharing home ideas, pinning arts and craft ideas, getting fashion inspiration and finding great food recipes. Plus one in three brides-to-be plan their weddings by ‘pinning.’

But for those in the service industry or businesses without a tangible product to sell may need to think twice about relying on Pinterest as their main social media account for generating sales.

What do Pinterest users want?

On top of all these stats, Pinterest is growing at a mind-blowing speed. It is the fastest standalone website to surpass the 10 million visitor mark and users stay on it for a long time (it’s addictive!) so it shouldn’t be ignored. 

And I truly believe that Pinterest is the only social network where people really want to hear from businesses. We (I am a Pinterest addict!) want to follow shops, we trust them, we want them to inspire us and let us build up a wish list of products. And we want to be able to click and buy, buy, buy! Take a look at this research into Pinterest user’s motivations…

What do people use Pinterest for

 

If your business has something to sell online, you want to drive traffic to your website or really want to get your great-looking products found on Google, Pinterest could be the network for you.

Want to find out more? Come along to one of our Pinterest for business workshops

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Should you monitor your employees’ social media?

Posted by on Nov 6, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Should you monitor your employees’ social media?

How much time do your staff waste on social media during their working hours? According to new research, 65 per cent of firms will never know – they just don’t monitor it.

The study by Roythornes Solicitors found that despite the increasing popularity of social media, the number of firms checking the use of social media by employees has only marginally increased from last year.

The Social Media in the Workplace 2014 report also discovered that 43% of businesses still don’t have a social media policy – guarding their reputation outside working hours as well as inside.

More than 30 per cent of businesses still have no idea what is being said online about them. Only 27 per cent of businesses formally do regular searches on appearances of their name on the web; nearly 43 per cent doing it informally.

The Roythornes’ report (you can see their results in their infographic below) does suggest a few interesting dilemmas – should employers be monitoring their staff’s social media use? Or is that an invasion of privacy? What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.

social_media__in_the__workplace_2014

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What is the perfect LinkedIn profile photo?

Posted by on Oct 1, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

What is the perfect LinkedIn profile photo?

I’ve seen some howlers in the past. Photos on LinkedIn, I mean. Photos that are supposed to sell you as a serious businessman or woman but instead…. don’t.

One of the first things we do on every Status Social LinkedIn workshop is go through the delegates’ profile photos. And we do it because having the right image is one of the most important things you can do on the business-to-business network.

Have a smile on your face, dress smartly, stick to head and shoulders (not the shampoo), think about the colours, consider which way you are facing, etc, etc. If your photo is wrong, a potential client could end up going elsewhere.

Social media tip 3So it’s great to see that the boffins at Photofeeler feel as strongly as me. In fact, they’ve done some research into the perfect social media profile photo. And produced a handy infographic which you can look at below.

As their research gets a wider audience, perhaps we will no longer see profile photos of the top of a bald man’s head; or someone with their back to the camera; or the man with a beer glass bigger than his head.

Here’s hoping!

The Perfect Profile Photo Infographic

Want to know more about how you can best use LinkedIn to get business (and we really do mean get business – check out our case studies) then take a look at our LinkedIn profile writing service or LinkedIn training.

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Social media training – 8 questions to ask before you do it.

Posted by on Sep 4, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Social media training – 8 questions to ask before you do it.

Social media training high up on your agenda? Want to learn how to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Google+ for your business?

There are a myriad of people and organisations out there offering social media training but how do you know which one to go for? Here are 8 questions to ask about your social media trainer before booking:

Social media coursesWhat is their knowledge based on? Trainers with real-world experience are the best. They are not just talking about the theory behind social media; they have actually ‘lived’ it. Has your social media trainer successfully managed other businesses’ accounts themselves, with proven return on investment (ROI)? And by ROI, we don’t mean increasing likes or followers. Anyone can do that.

Social media courses in DerbyHow practical is their training? You don’t want your money or time to be wasted on padding. Spending the first half an hour talking about the history of social media is not time well-spent. Neither is waffling about social media theory. What you want is practical tips and examples of how you can put your social media training into practice for your business as soon as you leave the workshop.

Status Social social mediaCan they show their training works? It’s easy to provide a few testimonies on a website about how people enjoyed the workshop but can the trainers give you case studies, or even better, the phone numbers of delegates who have turned their training into increased profits?

Social media workshopsIs the training pitched at my level? If you are an absolute beginner, you want it to start with the basics, but don’t be fooled into thinking that’s the most important thing. Your social media training still needs to be strategic and practical. If you are experienced at using social media, then it’s worth finding out whether the content is right for you too. Ask the social media trainer what you will gain from the course.

Social media courses in SheffieldWill the training be long enough for me? If you really want to learn how to use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter effectively for your business then don’t expect to learn about all three during a course lasting a morning. A social media course which fits the criteria in this post should last a minimum of three hours to truly have the ability to have an impact on your business. And don’t be afraid to ask about a longer course if you want more in-depth training.

Social media courses NottinghamWho else will be there? If you want social media training tailored to your business a bespoke workshop would clearly be best. But if you would prefer to learn with other business people then it’s worth asking how many will be in the social media training with you. Half a dozen would be ideal, ten or under would be acceptable, more than ten should ring alarm bells. The more people there are, the less chance of having your questions answered and the workshop meeting your needs.

Social media training DerbyWill the training be strategic? It’s very easy to go away from social media training and do nothing with what you’ve learned. Without knowing why you’re using social media, who the target audience is, how to measure the results, how you’re going to turn your social media activity into ROI, there is a strong likelihood your social media marketing will fail.

Social media training NottinghamWill there be wi-fi at the training venue? Is this really so important? Well, it’s a warning sign that if there is no wi-fi your training may end up being death by PowerPoint. We know that presentations can be done well but social media training is so much better if it can be personalised to you. With wi-fi, or a live workshop, it’s much easier to show your Facebook page or LinkedIn profile and talk about it during the workshop. Plus, you can be shown how to do something in real time.

Ask the above questions and if you don’t get the answers you like then shop around. There are enough social media trainers out there – you just need to ensure you find a good one!

By Mark Saxby. Mark is a director of Status Social, one of the UK’s first specialist social media consultancies. Status Social has trained more than 1,200 business people and charity workers how to use social media with their business objectives at the heart of every workshop.

Read 7 questions to ask your social media manager to avoid being ripped off.

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