These days, it’s essential for most businesses to have a social media presence. Customers, business partners and prospective employees expect to regularly interact online with you and your brand. That means engaging with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and more, all in addition to your web presence.
But with those social media expectations comes a huge problem. Companies that live by social media can also die by social media if they don’t police what’s happening on their platforms. That’s especially true if you allow anyone out there to leave comments without prior review. Social media comments could be putting your reputation at risk—or worse.
If someone bombards your social media outlets with racist, sexist or just plain offensive comments and materials, you need a plan for quick action to scrub the material, deleting it so it’s no longer being carried by your feed.
But that’s not enough. It’s inevitable in today’s fast-moving social media environment that someone captured a screenshot and circulated it. You also need to get out there and explain.
A recently filed lawsuit illustrates the problem. A flight attendant from Philadelphia sued United Airlines, alleging that the company didn’t do enough to police its social media presence. As a result, she claims she was subjected to offensive and vile commentary based on her sex.
Her lawsuit says the trouble started when she announced she was running for a unionposition. Soon, United’s Facebook page was peppered with comments calling her everything from slurs to slang terms for prostitutes.
She is joined in the lawsuit by another flight attendant from North Carolina who claims she was subjected to similar commentary, including being called a “sow” while the airline did nothing to police its social media despite having rules in place prohibiting employees from posting offensive materials.
Advice: Work with whoever manages your social media presence to set up systems to monitor inappropriate comments or content and remove them ASAP.