By David Kidd, BPR
Social media platforms have become an extremely effective way to share information and build brands.
Radio stations use it to engage with their audiences and clients, presenters use it to engage with their fans and their sponsors.
However, an Australian TV journalist learnt the hard way recently that it’s essential to think before you post.
As news.com.au reported on September 10 this year, Georgia Love was removed from her on-air role as a reporter at Channel 7 Melbourne over a social media post. Georgia had posted a video to Instagram earlier in the week of a cat which was sitting inside an Asian restaurant.
Accompanying the video was the caption: “Shop attendant or lunch?”
The response was immediate.
Georgia deleted the video about an hour later but the damage had already been done.
Her employer, The Seven Network, was swift in its actions. It issued a statement which said: “We have addressed this matter internally and disciplinary action has been taken. Seven does not condone this inappropriate conduct and all of our staff have the right to work in a safe, nurturing workplace free from prejudice.”
She was moved to the production desk, undertook counselling and issued an apology to her colleagues.
To rub salt into the wound, Georgia was also dumped as an ambassador for Melbourne’s prestigious Chadstone Shopping Centre. No doubt a nice little earner for her.
So, here are five points to remember as your station and your talent leverage the power of social media platforms to build their profiles:
Anyone who follows you or is otherwise connected to you online can take a screenshot of your social media post or image and “share” it. There’s a high degree of probability that your competitors are following you on social media platforms to see what you’re up to and to catch out a mistake.
Content shared on the internet is never deleted….it is out there, waiting to be found. Yes, you may have deleted content that you thought, in hindsight, was inappropriate for your brand but you don’t know who has already seen it, stored it or shared it. The reality is that you can never completely remove yourself or your information from the internet.
If there is even the slightest chance that your station or your talent may regret posting a photo, a joke, a comment, or a complaint online, then don’t do it. Anyone with the right tools can look you up and find old posts that you had long forgotten about.
Employers are looking online. Before you’re even hired, and possibly before you’re even interviewed, potential employers are looking through your social media posts to learn more about you. Your current employer may be reviewing your social media profiles when evaluating you or considering you for a promotion. Your clients and sponsors search online. As Georgia Love found out, one post cost her a lucrative promotional contract. If sponsors or potential sponsors find content that you shared that does not align with their brand values, there’s a strong chance you won’t get that MC’ing gig or TV commercial endorsing their product. Distasteful comments can come back to haunt you. It’s your image…….protect it.
You might think you are the funniest person you know, but when an online “joke” falls on the wrong audience, it can cause offence. You might also think that your meaning is clear when you post a comment, but it’s easy for misunderstandings to occur. Always think twice before you post.
Your reputation is your greatest asset. Radio stations and talent must do everything they can to build and promote their reputations in a POSITIVE way, not to destroy them. There are enough people out there on social media only too willing to do that for you. Don’t give them the ammunition!