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HMV Twitter Fiasco- who is really to blame?

01 February 2013 | 02:07 am

The HMV live blogging about employees being given the sack has highlighted some major issues and for the first time has shown the deficiencies in how organisations manage and control their social media activity. It was obvious that senior management did not have any idea how powerful the backlash on social media would be from their own employees.

The majority of organisations limit their social media management to either manual searching for mentions of their name or having a listening tool to automate this process, but this only covers the external risks of social media. Even this is often unstructured and poorly managed. It is the internal risks that have been highlighted in this case.

The internal risks of social media are clearly not understood by either the senior marketing team at HMV or by the administrators.

The media have focused on the national Twitter account run by Poppy Rose (@poppy_powers) who is 21-years-old and had been in charge of HMV’s national social media activity since she had been an intern. While all this live tweeting was taking place things were getting out of control at a local level.

HMV has hundreds of local social media accounts that have been set up and are managed by local teams without any control from head office. Local teams were using these channels to gain support for their protests including arranging sit-in protests to ensure the administrators paid them.


1.     Senior management should treat the social media accounts of the organisation like any other asset and give controlled access, but be able to shut off access by their employees at any stage.

2.     Organisations need to be aware of how many accounts actually represent the brand and know how many people have access.

3.     Get control well before a crisis engulfs the organisation as trying to do so in the middle of it will be nearly impossible.

4.     Administrators need to add social media accounts to their asset register and know how powerful this channel is and what an impact it can have on the value of the brand.

CrowdControlHQ is the UK’s only social media risk management and monitoring software helping both corporate firms and public sector organisations to manage the risks of social media. With clients including Experian, West Midlands Police, SERCO and Nottingham City Council we have extensive experience in helping organisations to regain control over their social media activity.

 Request a demo or contact us here.

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