HMV shouldn’t be closing down its Twitter feed

HMVTweets: #hmvXFactorFiring, @HMVtweets claimed that staff were being fired by the HR department.Troubled music retailer HMV caused a stir on Twitter yesterday as employees used the brand’s official Twitter feed to live-blog mass redundancies taking place at the high street chain. Using the hashtag #hmvXFactorFiring, @HMVtweets claimed that staff were being fired by the HR department. The news was then confirmed by the administrator. Deloitte said that 190 people have been made redundant at the brand’s head office and distribution centres.

The Tweets were quickly deleted, but not before they were widely shared. The feed also claimed that the “marketing director” was asking “How do I shut down Twitter?”.

The person who sent the tweets was a former intern who took over responsibility for the account.  So she didn’t hijack the account, but was running it as part of her social media duties. It is the old story of the (ex) intern doing it again (don’t tell me that you don’t remember Habitat). She tweeted that she hoped it would finally show the management the power of social media. Well they are certainly paying attention now.

The idea of closing down the Twitter feed (if true) was almost certainly a knee jerk reaction and one that would be a terrible mistake (horses and barn doors et cetera). It might have been for the wrong reasons, but it has made people notice the HMV Twitter account. Anyone with an ounce of digital sense would build on that moment and turn it around. This could be a positive social media moment.

Hopefully whoever buys the brand can ensure that a future HMV has a strategy that makes good use of social media to drive the brand onwards.

That’s something that Jason Woodford, CEO of digital marketing agency, SiteVisibility agrees with. He says closing down the Twitter feed would be huge mistake.

The brand has to keep that feed running and whoever buys HMV needs a cogent digital strategy. Woodford says that the Twitter faux pas has seriously put a black mark against its social media ethics and general know-how.

“Firstly let’s hope whoever buys the business, if someone does of course, that they have a stringent digital strategy in place. A brand as recognisable and as large as HMV shouldn’t be getting blind-sided by their employees on the internet, even if they are set to be made redundant. The world of eCommerce is tightly knit and well connected, so I hope people aren’t tempted to inadvertently burn their bridges as they share their momentary misfortune.

“We are talking about one of the largest high street brands here. And whilst we were all fully aware that the organisation would likely be making a round of redundancies in the not too distant future, this Twitter faux pas has seriously put a black mark against its social media ethics and general know-how. It’s been noted that its senior marketing management are asking how to close down their own Twitter account; it shouldn’t be a question asked at that level. If they need it done then they should just do it. It’s clear that too many people along the chain have got hold of the Twitter account details and have exploited HMV’s vulnerable position. This has led to a brand new dilemma in which ultimately ends in them closing their Twitter account. Unhappy staff, unhappy customers and it all publicised over the internet, senior management there must be wondering – can get any worse right now?

“However, by shutting the account down now would make for a poor and ill-advised PR move. What people will appreciate now is honesty and transparency it’s just a shame that via their now former employees have provided a bit too much of the latter already.”

HMV, which has 239 stores in the UK, went into administration two weeks ago. The 92-year-old company has struggled against online rivals such as Amazon.

HMVTweets: HMVTweets: #hmvXFactorFiring, @HMVtweets claimed that staff were being fired by the HR department.