You don’t have to be a million miles away from the news to realise how damaging e-mail leaks can be and how damaging such leaks could be for your brand. “Brand Beckham” is the latest to fall foul of this, with a number of emails being leaked about Mr Beckham's quest to become Sir David Beckham. There are countless other stories in the news including Hilary Clinton and her infamous blackberry and Donald Trump with his twitter account, including his latest habit of tweeting with his Caps Lock on!
A recent business experience has made me think about the appropriate use of e-mail and social media in the modern business world. Every follower, reader and subscriber should be deemed as a potential client or a referrer.
I am a great fan of email, social media and modern technology. It provides a powerful business platform for smaller companies (as well as large companies) and it is a treasure trove of information. It should be embraced, but not without a proper understanding of what you are using, its power, impact and possible consequences. Whilst email and social media make it possible for your business to reach out to the entire world, you have to remember that, on the flip side, it means that the entire world can also reach out to your business and hence your business information and your staff are more accessible than once they may have been. Modern business people have to roll with the punches, take the disadvantages with the advantages and put in place measures to mitigate risk of damage, wherever they might foresee them.
It may sound obvious, but we all see, probably on a daily basis, emails and/or social media posts which simply should have been given more thought as to the potential consequences, before they were sent or posted. When preparing to send an email or post a message on social media, it’s imperative that you think about what you would not want to get out into the public domain. When you are in business, absolutely anybody could be a potential client or know of a potential client. Putting something in writing which might offend the recipient or be at risk of being leaked to a wider audience is a huge mistake. No company or business should ever risk this and all staff should be appropriately trained as to the potential risks. A harsh word or inappropriate response written by a staff member representing a business can cause huge damage to reputation at the very least. Things can easily get lost in translation and be easily shared via email and/or leaked on social media- it's never been easier. If you need to have a frank discussion with another person, do it face to face or over the phone as there is less risk of things being misinterpreted or reputation being damaged. I am the first to admit that business can get heated and people can get hot-headed but putting heated words into written format is unprofessional and risky to your business. Never forget that a rash insult may make you feel better in the short term but can come back to bite you.......remember that your brand and reputation are always at risk. Likewise modern technology means your business is more accessible to approaches, make sure you respond to appropriate messages. People talk and failing to do so will tarnish your brand.
In my business of recruitment, we are undergoing a technological revolution. It’s so important to be careful what you say on social media; rants about religion, political views and controversial opinions can be closely monitored and could potentially put off potential clients or employers by giving you a bad personality profile (trust me I have seen them). Stick to what you are expert in and share tips only. I always tell people to be careful what they are posting on any social media sites, your foot print is hard to erase once it has been cast. The same advice is applicable to companies.
So here are some simple tips:-
These are simple tips but as shown in the media recently they are being overlooked, even by people and companies who have huge budgets. You’ve been warned!