4 Social Media Missteps Supply Chain Officers Can’t Afford to Make

Published : May 27, 2015

social-media-iconsSocial media may have started as a tool in the marketing department, but advances in supply chain technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) have given it legs to travel deep into the warehouse. Even if you consider social media a side effect of your technological footprint rather than a direct goal of your efforts, there are still ample opportunities to trip in your day-to-day operational journey.

1. Posting from the Wrong Account

A massive 52% of internet-connected American adults are now boasting two or more social media accounts, according to a 2014 Pew Study. That means that there's a good chance some of those users are accessing their personal accounts from work. The risk for "cross-contamination" is pretty high if those employees are also in any way responsible for corporate or brand accounts—remember, social media platforms don't want you to log out, so they tend to be difficult to disconnect from.

Solution: To eliminate the danger of employees posting personal updates from corporate accounts—or corporate posts getting sent from personal accounts—institute a strict "no login" policy on company equipment.

2. Scheduling Without a Panic Button

Disasters, trends and general cultural awareness can all end up shooting you in the foot with the wrong word or phrase choice during pre-written updates. Amanda McGraw of The Network points to an unfortunate pre-written Tesco tweet that implied employees were "hitting the hay" in the late evening in the midst of a horse meat scandal. If you use supply chain technology to inform customers that you'll "keep on trucking" to deliver their orders, you may see it as a playful, informative gesture—which it would normally be. Imagine, however, the tone it will take if a huge, fatal truck/school bus accident occurred an hour prior and has been plastered all over the news. Even though you wrote that tweet or update days ago, it will make your company seem incredibly tone deaf and insensitive to current events.

Solution: Use neutral language in scheduled updates, or avoid pre-planning them altogether, if possible.

3. The Fallibility of Your Employees

Any time an employee mentions your company, services or brand, a connection is made in your customer's minds. While there are legal restrictions on what you can ask or require an employee to do in terms of their private social media accounts, if you find out the hard way you've got a loose cannon on your hands, you'll need to do serious damage control. Avoid this issue altogether by having a frank discussion with your employees about how they represent themselves online, and suggest privacy setting options for the especially outspoken. According to the New York Times' Jon Ronson, this might have been a move that the employers of Justine Sacco, the casually racist PR consultant that bumbled her way into anti-fame, could have taken to avoid a lot of headaches.

Solution: Include an "expectations of conduct" clause in your employee contract that extends to their social media presence as far as legally possible.

4. Handling Damage Control in Your Main Feed

Customers have learned to take to social media for swift attention and solutions when there's a problem with their order. While this does facilitate communication and quick response, it can also have a negative effect as the "me too!" mindset sets in. If customer B sees you went above and beyond for customer A, they will expect the same treatment, if not better. In the case of free shipping or replacement efforts, this can quickly cost a company a great deal—either in direct cost or damage to your reputation if you fail to follow through.

Solution: Initiate conversation in your main feed, but save the details and ultimate solution for a private message. If the customer then wants to communicate their satisfaction or gratitude, you'll reap the benefits of great interaction without setting a bar for future customers with issues. 

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Topics: Supply Chain Technology

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