Tag Archives: reputational damage

Enterprise 2.0, the Social Sector’s best friend?

(Image Courtesy RSPCA)

Recall a couple of weeks back when I discussed briefly how social media can enhance productivity and opportunities, today I want to describe how organisations from the Social Sector (i.e. not-for-profit organisations), can also benefit from social technologies. McKinsey explains how there are nine social-sector value levers (image below), in which organisations can realise the value of using social media, as well as the importance of integrating these values when creating a social strategy.
Lets have a look at the RSPCA, a not-for-profit agency that aims to “prevent cruelty to animals by actively promoting their care and protection”. According to their website, RSPCA runs “40 shelters and employs around 1000 staff and spends more than $80 Million every year on the services it provides. Most of this money comes from public donations and fundraising initiatives, as well as business partnerships, grants and RSPCA patrons”. Their online presence especially with their Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages have become a large forefront for supporters and the general public, and allows the RSPCA to benefit from the following value levers:

Fundraising, creating and expanding volunteer networks and retaining support:
With over 134,117 likes, the RSPCA has a large online marketing campaign, with their Facebook and Twitter pages, consistently updated, prioritising educated the public whilst engaging their supporters. Posts like their fundraising campaign “cupcake day” (see below video), generates public interest by encouraging the community to partake in baking and selling baked goods to generate funds to help animals in need. Moreover, the RSPCA, encourages participants to actively spread the word by posting images of their cupcakes online, which in turn has generated the attention of the greater public. The effectiveness of such a campaign can be seen by last year’s cupcake day results, where they received an impressive $1.6Million in donations. This year, the RSPCA has already raised over $776,570, retaining a strong, loyal support base for their aim to fight animal cruelty.

(Video courtesy RSPCA)

Improve collaboration and communication:
By effectively utilising social technologies, the RSPCA is easily able to, inform their followers and the public of its upcoming events, news and education. By actively promoting the use of social media, the RSPCA encourages people to actively post and to raise awareness on animal cruelty. For example, one of their most recent Facebook posts, encouraged voters in this years federal election, to tell local candidates how important animal welfare is and even offer suggestions as to what people can post on Twitter and Facebook to spread the word. By using an social technologies as a tool to increase collaboration and communication, therefore allows the RSPCA to increase their fellowship as well as continuing their ongoing mission (see images below).

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(Images courtesy of RSPCA Facebook)

With many organisations implementing Enterprise 2.0, it is definitely clear that social technologies serve as an effective tool in creating value. In addition to this, it is becoming inherent that organisations from the social sector are utilising this forefront as an economical yet successful method of reaching the greater public.

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Why Apple Inc. and Facebook aren’t friends

(Image courtesy of Techbeat)

So in the past few weeks, I have talked about how social technologies are an invaluable (yet free or low cost … funny paradox isn’t it?) marketing tool for organizations to enhance their brand, communication, collaboration as well as a means to boost productivity and sales.

However what issues can arise out of the business use of social media?

Let’s talk about Apple Inc. once again. Being one of the biggest companies in the world its interesting to note that they don’t have an official Facebook page. What is the reason for this? Why wouldn’t apple want to have Twitter, YouTube or even Tumbler?

Whilst this is a broad question, there are several answers that give insight to their anti-external social media campaign, outside of the social interaction that occurs within their official website/forum (Apple Support Communities). One general reason of why Apple has not ventured to these social technologies can be explained by the legal issues that pertain to creating these profiles, in which are related to legal issues, risks and reputation.

Apple is known to be secretive when it comes to their products and new releases as well as any business secrets. Having a Facebook/Twitter page puts their company at risk of exposure. Intellectual property issues, disclosure/control and defamation of confidential information all spring to mind. What would happen if an disgruntled employee posted information on their Facebook page highlighting all of the details of the next iPhone before it hit the markets, or even then what would happen to Apple’s share price, and what do Apple’s competitors such as Samsung have to gain from finding this information.

Apple’s reputation is at stake whenever any media or customer’s respond to their products, services etc. Without adequate control over who or what can go onto their Facebook page, (in which can be difficult Facebook). The amount of good/bad publicity is growing everyday, Apple’s fan base is incredibly large, and the last thing Apple want’s is for people leaking sensitive information. BBC News even discusses how Apple has slapped bloggers lawsuits over publishing such information over the internet.

Even social technologies such as LinkedIn have proven to be a threat to companies like Apple, demonstrated by Malcolm Burrow in his article where he explains that employee malpractice or even lack of knowledge can mean uploading employee email address-books to these social sites, subsequently, breaching information assets and even leading to future cases of spam emails.

It is also interesting to note that even though Apple doesn’t have any official pages, there is still a large number of ‘fake’ or ‘unofficial’ Apple Facebook pages floating around the internet, which poses a severe risk to Trade mark infringement or even defamation of Apple as a company. Have a look at these two fan pages which have 9.5 million likes and 1.2 million likes respectively. What’s even more concerning is that one of these pages are full of people’s comments/recommendations on Apple as a company and its products. Although some of these comments might be harmless and commending Apple, you can also see the nasties that appear. One of these comments even has curse words and other comments describe their frustrations and hatred to Apple (see below image, press to enlarge).

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(Images by Author)

The other issue in which organizations face is of the grey area of where an employee work’s for a business and what they may post during their private life.  Whilst the normal employee may not post anything slanderous or leak any information assets publicly, companies need to ensure that they are protected and are able to act if this were to happen. If you don’t believe that it could happen, have a look at this huge list of 689 published cases involving social media evidence. Furthermore, the power of social media stems even further than personal or organisational use, the negative impact of the social ‘voice’ can have a detrimental impact on events even like fair court trails as ECU explains.

To combat this, companies need to establish a Social Media Policy (SMP), and Burrow explains its use as:

supplement[ing] a contract of employment to be legally enforceable by an organisation on its employees. The aim of an SMP is to clearly communicate what is acceptable conduct on Social Networking Sites by an organisations employees and contractors and what conduct is unacceptable and would make an employee liable to dismissal… [It is a] high level document that communicates how an organisation plans to participate within social media”.

By prescribing such a policy, organizations can control or assign information owners and make them liable for what they potentially post online.  This in turn mitigates the risk of companies being exposed and left reputationally damaged.

Finally it is clear that whether a company utilizes social technologies or not, they should be made aware of any potential ‘fake’ or ‘fan’ pages that are created on their behalf and that the company should at least reserve any domain names in order to mitigate the risk of defamation or damage to reputation.

Dear Tim Cook, please look out for the fake Apple pages, and I know its hard but lets get more apple social sites, yes?

Thanks for reading and see you guys next week.

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