Process Fun of the week: 3 Social media disasters

Sam Miranda

How does social media fit in to business process management?

There’s no uniform answer – it really depends on your interpretation of BPM. It fits in less with the automation of business processes; more with the human-driven side of things.

The two can be conceived as opposites; Anthony Bradley from Gartner writes that "when using social media to engage and grow a community you certainly wouldn’t want to design out the processes by which participants would interact and ‘code’ them into the collaborative environment." The spontaneity and transience of social media can be hard to fathom with an I.T. cap on.

However, as our leap into the BPM blogosphere reveals, industry figures such as Mark Pearson attribute more importance to the role of social media.

This sentiment is echoed by Henrik von Scheel. He explains how social media and BPM enable customer centricity, referencing the "social consumer decision life cycle journey." In a multi-channel world, there’s more emphasis on post-purchase activities such as reviews and recommendations, which can form valuable insight. "Social listening" is a process that helps organisations harness customer sentiment, anticipate new trends and make adjustments to product strategy.

Of course, it’s not that easy. Social media gives rise to a plethora of unstructured data, and text analytics are far from perfect at detecting the nuances of modern language.

Looking at the following social media gaffes, companies could also do with managing the people and process relationship a little better…

Now Here’s the Fun: HMV Hijacked, Chrysler Compromised

Lesson #1: Change the social media login before you downsize

Music chain HMV’s downsizing woes – administrators closed down 66 stores, made 930 members of staff redundant and put 4,500 jobs at risk – were compounded when angry employees hijacked the official Twitter account.

They sent out seven unsolicited tweets "live from HR", with one mentioning that the account was illegally set-up by an unpaid intern, and another ridiculing the Marketing Director for "asking how to shut down Twitter."

Lesson #2: Trigger happy tweeting can land you in regulatory hot water

Francesca’s, a clothing retailer with stores in 44 states, started the year on the wrong foot when its CFO sent out this tweet after a confidential meeting on March 7. The problem is that Francesca’s is a publicly traded company. The CFO disclosed company info to his followers before it went public, thus sharing inside information - a violation of long-held SEC regulations. He was promptly fired.

Regulated industries—finance, healthcare, insurance and many others—face strict rules governing what they can and cannot communicate to the public. Social media is not exempt. Every firm should have a social media compliance policy and a social media management system that can archive all messages in the event of an audit.

Lesson #3: The perils of outsourcing...

Outsourcing is often heralded as a cost-effective solution, but as Chrysler Autos discovered, de-centralising your social media operations can cause serious damage.

The car company claimed its account had been compromised - in fact it had outsourced to an agency - when it published the Tweet "I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity yet no-one here knows how to f***ing drive."

Can you list examples of social media has put a spanner in process? The PEX Network wants to hear from you!