Here is a true story that made the national press recently, that I hope will prove to companies that they simply cannot ignore the power of social media.
Let me explain the chain of events….
2. Paperchase paid a design fee for these designs to Gather No Moss, then proceeded to use these designs on products in their stores.
3. Independent designer (and blogger and Twitterer) Hidden Eloise, noticed in November that Paperchase were using copies of her design on products for sale in their shop >>>plagiarism. Check the short video below showing this:
4. Hidden Eloise contacted Paperchase and asked them to remove the designs. The response was no – in fact they actually increased the amount of products for sale with the copied designs on!!
5. The story hit the national press. Paperchase issued a press release which (subsequently proved) was a ‘little off the truth’.
6. Enter social media and the power of the people.
7. Neil Gaiman, the science fiction write, tweeted the predicament to his 1.6 million followers:
8. His followers also disliked the ‘big corporation’ bashing a small independent designer and ‘spread the word via Twitter!! The press gets wind of it >>>> Paperchase get a social media mauling!!
9. A designer working for Gather No Moss admits copying the designs – what a surprise that was…..NOT!!
10. While Hidden Eloise is fully within her rights to sue, she chooses not to. She stays on the moral high ground and tells Gather No Moss, to put the derisory settlement to charity.
A few years ago, a company like Paperchase (ie a big company) would have got away with this, but now social websites like blogs and twitter can be so powerful, in fighting against it.
For me, there were three fundamental issues here that every company not engaging with social media needs to take not of:
- Sheer arrogance. Don’t underestimate the power of social media. Billions (literally) of people around the world are active on social networks – your brand can get seriously damaged…..very quickly, if you are not listening to what is being said online. >>>Monitor your online reputation – either recruit experts now, or at the very least put some tools in place.
- You must implement some form of social media guidelines. You need to identify and empower people within your business to reply on social networking sites like Twitter and Blogs (combined with the reputation monitoring in 1.) If you don’t know what you are doing, the either give someone like me a call or hire in social media savvy people.
- Don’t wait for social media to bite your company on the ass – recruit a Head of Social Media, Social Media Manager, Community Manager …..whatever you want to call them…….NOW.
Social media is not going away, but unless you start bringing in the right skills now, it is really going to cause you a problem at some stage in the near future!
TIP: Look at your staff internally first before you go outside, because I bet you have some really great social media users and champions in your business! See who is running Facebook groups about your company, for example, and talk to them. They would LOVE to do a job like that. And don’t worry how old they are – they are the ones who ‘get it’, not you!
Has your company got anyone in charge of social media yet?
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