Target, a target on Facebook
Social media is scary for the obvious reason that it means giving up some control.
Take Target. On their Facebook page, they have half a million fans. That’s a pretty solid number of people who are “fans” of the brand.
But with the good, comes the bad. This is a screen shot of the Discussion page on Target’s Facebook page (see item #2).
The conversation inside of the second topic is about as clear as the title.
Target is left with the weird situation where people who identify as “fans”, clearly aren’t. And the people who aren’t appear to be the people who work there. People who are important to maintain the overall brand at target.
So what do we learn?
It’s not a bad idea to put together an employee posting guidelines document. It’s not an enforceable policy, it’s more a document designed to protect people from themselves.
It’s like a seatbelt law for social media.
There’s a really good chance that people who are posting on discussion boards about how much they hate working on Target haven’t put two and two together to come up with HR.
I know what you’re thinking: “Are people really that dumb?”
I think the answer is no, but they just might be that uniformed. A published guidelines for brands that engage in Facebook is another product we can offer clients. It’s not a policy. But it can protect a brand from itself.
We’re not promising that brands will be protected on Facebook from anything.
On the topic of large retailers, the Wal-Mart Facebook page has this comment on the top of the wall:
“Julie Jones Hunt hum… interesting… why confront when you can delete!”
Presumably, Wal-Mart has been deleting her wall posts, instead of addressing them. Another issue that Facebook brings.
The final thought though is this: if people have complaints they will air them. Not having a Facebook page doesn’t mean a brand will be safe from people saying bad things (see SideWiki entries for Walmart.com).
But having a Facebook page means inviting people to say them. Even the bad things can offer learning.