VanAntwerp Attorneys, LLP
Phone: 606-618-0698

Protecting a business’ most valuable asset: Their reputation

Social media has provided a forum for anyone to heap praise or spew venom at an individual or business entity. Hiding behind the comfort of the keyboard often makes the latter more tempting, when an employee recently fired is pursuing a vendetta against their employer.

Promoting a business on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn is a smart marketing move. However, a prominent social media presence can also expose the company to damaging comments from current and former staff members.

How Far Should A Company Go To Protect Their Reputation?

A vengeful employee possesses vast online power in reaching a large audience. Employers must be proactive in preventing long-term damage. Following the social media profiles of dismissed staff is tempting. However, demanding employees’ social media passwords or deceptively “friending” violates many state laws.

Most human resources departments do not have the resources to continually monitor social media activity. More employers are now adding social media departments responsible in part for monitoring social media for brand references. However, staff can also scan for disparaging comments and potential sharing of trade secrets and other confidential data.

Accentuating The Positive Without Eliminating The Negative

Instead of waging “war” or ignoring comments, certain strategies can actually bolster an image and turn a negative into a positive:

  • Addressing both positive and negative reviews by directly, considerately and constructively respond to the criticism. A more direct approach shows transparency at the company and may reveal disparaging comments are nothing more than “sour grapes”
  • Identifying trends where multiple “critics” have a common thread of criticism. Employers who are willing to objectively take a step back and self-analyzing a workplace may find room for improvement
  • Acknowledging the positive instead of tacking the negative. Employers can offset the bad feedback by encouraging new and existing employees to provide their online reviews. Multiple positive comments mixed with the average to bad reviews show a workplace with an engaged staff

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