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Two ways with social media

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In a week when HMV’s Twitter account was taken over by disgruntled employees on the verge of redundancy, we’ve news of a more proactive approach to social media.

HMV is trending both on Twitter and in newspaper headlines following an interesting use of social media. Some of those among the 190 being made redundant at HMV headquarters and warehouse yesterday appear to have taken control of the HMV Twitter account to share their dissatisfaction with the failure of the iconic retailer, outpaced by digital competitors.

In tweets that were later deleted, @hmvtweets carried a series of messages carrying the hashtag #hmvXFactorFiring, that variously described the process as a “mass execution” and said “we’re tweeting live from HR where we’re all being fired! Exciting!” before a final message reported a move to shut down the company’s Twitter account.

More recent messages acknowledged: “One of our departing colleagues was understandably upset. We’re still here thou, thx for supporting hmv thro these challenging times.”

Reports have since suggested the official HMV Twitter account was set up two years ago by an unpaid intern. Whatever the truth of that, commentators say the whole affair suggests that social media was not getting the attention it needed at HMV.

Jason Woodford, chief executive of digital marketing agency SiteVisibility, said a stringent digital strategy should be a priority for any new owners of the HMV business.

“A brand as recognisable and as large as HMV shouldn’t be getting blind-sided by their employees on the internet, even if they are set to be made redundant,” he said, adding: “This Twitter faux pas has seriously put a black mark against its social media ethics and general know-how… It’s clear that too many people along the chain have got hold of the Twitter account details and have exploited HMV’s vulnerable position.”

Despite this, he said, shutting the Twitter account down would be a “poor and ill-advised PR move.” And he added: “What people will appreciate now is honesty and transparency it’s just a shame that via their now former employees have provided a bit too much of the latter already.”

But just as HMV’s woes are being broadcast through its own social media channel, there’s news of how other retailers are using social media in a more positive manner.

Swiss watchmaker Raymond Weil is closing its website down on Monday, to mark Facebook’s 9th birthday. Traffic to the luxury brand’s website will be redirected to the Raymond Weil Facebook page in a campaign that is intended to raise awareness of how the brand is using social media. Dedicated Facebook Tabs on its Facebook page include a Watch Finder and Store Locator.

Alain Duchêne, head of digital at Raymond Weil said: “This campaign is meant to invite our whole community to join the conversation.

“Raymond Weil embraced social media at an early stage because we believe in proximity and different ways to connect. It is part of who we are as one of the last truly independent family-run watch brand in Switzerland.” He said Facebook was one of the mechanisms that had changed the way that the company communicated. “It makes sense for a luxury brand such as Raymond Weil to dialogue in a straightforward, fun and closer manner with our consumer and followers,” said Duchêne.

David Scholberg, of Geneva digital agency KBSD Digital Intelligence said: “The metrics of this campaign are of interest and always a key aspect in digital marketing but the spirit of this particular campaign is a social drive from our teams leading to an engaging and original move.”

Our view: Who’s got the keys to your corporate Twitter account? The HMV affair has highlighted the reputational importance of social media to a business – and the damage that can be done when it is misused. Meanwhile, Raymond Weil’s move to use Facebook for its ecommerce business on Monday will provide a more constructive showcase for its use of social media. Both stories serve to show the true importance of social media to businesses today.

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