Fastest Formula One Tweet Removed

This weekend’s Spa Grand Prix saw some awesome racing as well as huge frustration, penalties and pain. Against the backdrop of Jensen Button’s immense pole lap and race winning pace, McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton seems to have swept the headlines with his Twitter antics again.

Lewis got into hot water after tweeting confidential information with a picture of his team’s telemetry data from qualifying. Cue the media frenzy, speculation about Lewis’ employability as he’s yet to sign a contract for next year, and McLaren’s PR machine hitting overdrive. The tweeted pic was quickly taken down by Lewis under instruction from McLaren, but he also adjusted some earlier tweets that were a little beyond the corporate barrier with reference to bad language and team issues.

As a motor racer’s daughter, I understand how important telemetry data is and, even at club racing level, we keep a good veil of mystery in the pits and paddock to ensure fun and fair competition. I cannot condone Lewis’ actions in sharing team data with the world, but I can understand his ‘human’ side and wanting to be honest and share his feelings with his fans and followers: he is, before anything else, a racing driver. I appreciate people who are passionate about their jobs. Surely we’d all like to be like that?

Any brand worth their salt will have a strong Social Media Policy in place and will work hard to ensure all staff adhere to it to maintain and improve the company’s reputation. On the flip side, Twitter works because it’s about being human and engaging with others. Therein lies the rub. If you’re representing a brand or corporate identity where big monies are at stake, then you need to tow the line with what you can and cannot say. Don’t you…?

 

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Fire the intern!

One of the hot topics of discussion we had today on our Social Media BTEC course, was who would you put in charge of corporate social media communications? Would you outsource to a specialist who would ensure the dialogue is professional? Would you get the MD or CEO to do it who probably knows little about the media but a lot about the company? Perhaps leave it to the IT geek with access to the latest apps? Or are you more likely to let the intern handle it because they spend their life on Facebook anyway?

Many social media disaster case studies exist (Nestle on Facebook, Kevin Smith and Southwest Air on Twitter and more http://mashable.com/2011/12/31/social-media-disasters-2011/) and have put the fear into some companies which prevents them from properly engaging social media. So how can we protect firms from making these mistakes and stop the knee-jerk sacking of the intern reaction?

The answer, as I see it, is advanced training for those who will be in charge of the social media interaction and a solid social media policy which is rolled out across the company, ensuring staff understand the company’s stance on all things social network related and what will and will not be acceptable behaviour.

You probably already have an email and internet usage policy, so now is the time to build your social media policy. Try the Policy Tool for Social Media. Let me know how you get on.