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Risk Management - 10 Ways to Manage Employee YouTube Use

31st October 2014 | Helen Rideout

Helen Rideout, author of Employee Risk Management, provides 10 key tips for managing company reputation online.

Employee Risk Management (9780749471606)With over one billion unique users each month, YouTube offers organisations a global platform to get their message across. However, it also does the same for any unhappy customers wishing to complain. This is a lesson learned by United Airlines when Dave Carroll uploaded a music video entitled ‘United Breaks Guitar’ to YouTube. He did so after failing to obtain compensation for the damage done to his US $3,500 Taylor acoustic guitar by United’s baggage handlers. According to The Times, the video was viewed nearly 3.7 million times within days of uploading. This led to many other disillusioned customers posting their tales of woes. It also allegedly sent United Airline’s share price into temporary decline, but boosted Dave Carroll’s musical career beyond his wildest dreams.

Another problem is the uploading of damaging content by staff that identifies your organisation. Domino’s Pizzas had a rude awakening in this respect when two employees pranked the company in 2009. The video showed one of them preparing a new Domino’s product whilst carrying out a number of unhygienic acts. Before it was withdrawn, it had received over one million hits; putting it on the first page of YouTube featured videos. Unfortunately, the impact on Domino’s reputation was instantaneous. According to media reports, its ‘favourability’ rating had dropped by over 50%. Also, the huge advertising and marketing costs it had incurred in launching this new product were wasted.

If you wish to avoid something similar happening to your organisation, implement the following tips:

1. Create a YouTube presence.

If your organisation lacks a presence on YouTube, rectify this. Upload information and use it as an opportunity to get your products and values across to potential customers.

2. On-going monitoring.

Make someone responsible for monitoring YouTube for videos or comments that could harm your organisation.

3. Customer services.

Review your complaints procedure and response times as part of a review of customer services training. This should avoid the need for customers to use YouTube as a medium to complain.

4. Permission to post.

Designate specific individuals who have permission to post content on behalf of your organisation.

5. Prohibited behaviour.

Ban the rest of the workforce from uploading material on YouTube (and their other social media feeds) that could identify your organisation in a negative way.

6. Disciplinary sanctions.

Make any breach of Tip 5 a disciplinary offence.

7. Social media policy.

Review your policy to ensure that it incorporates these points and provides the necessary protection.

8. Training.

Review the training given to those responsible for managing YouTube content. This is to ensure that they understand what could be potentially libellous or damaging material.

9. Board awareness.

Make sure that the board are aware of how YouTube (and social media in general) can be misused to bring the organisation into disrepute.

10. Crisis management procedure.

As a general point, review your procedure for dealing with all social media threats; including YouTube. 

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