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Applebee’s Social Media Nightmare & You

If you’ve been on facebook this week you’ve most likely seen this picture circulating:

applebees social mediaYou can go here and here to read about the PR disaster that happened. In sum: A angry pastor commented “I give God 10% why do you get 18%?” on a receipt. An employee at Applebees violated social media policy by uploading the picture to Reddit. She was fired. Facebook community rallied at the ‘injustice’ and went to town trolling Applebee’s official facebook page. Applebee’s struggled; their response to criticism was slow, clunky, and ineffective. It rolled into a complete social media meltdown. Applebee’s PR team lost control of the situation and to date hasn’t been able to pull it back in yet.

What can we learn from this very public, very large social media crisis?  First thing we think of: have an effective social media policy with risk management algorithm securely in place.  How does your organization respond to negative criticism? Who responds? Who is responsible? Social media policies need to be revisited semi-annually. Questions to ask if you are preparing to write a social media policy or reevaluate your current policy:

What is the purpose of the policy?

  • What are you hoping to achieve by having a social media policy? Is your main aim to control its use? Who can and can’t post on behalf of the company? Is it to protect privacy or primarily for risk management?

Who are the key stakeholders?

  • Who needs to be involved in the development of the policy?
  • It is top down or do you want feedback and contribution from staff?

What constitutes as inappropriate behavior on social media?

Privacy laws, company personnel, criticisms about you organization. It is important to articulate what is considered unacceptable online. You can only take disciplinary action against behavior if the guidelines are clearly articulated.

  • Can employees contribute to the social media platforms of the company?
  • Are you monitoring your employees for rogue communication?
  • Can employees use social media platforms during work hours for non-work purposes?

How is the issue of risk management addressed in your policy?

  • What will the company policy be on responding to criticism?
  • What is the process for documenting such an event?
  • How are you going to embed the policy?

Lastly, how will you inform your staff and ensure they understand the policy. 

  • Training from 3rd party social media management? HR briefing?

What are your thoughts on the Applebees social media disaster?

If you have further questions regarding social media policy contact us. We’re here to help!

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