Mobile video age means you, and your business, are on camera

These days you can’t look at your Facebook feeds and anything on YouTube without seeing videos of people behaving poorly. A lot of bad behavior is caught on someone’s smartphone then editorialized while posted to a social media platform in matter of seconds. Many of these mobile videos go viral.
Recently you likely saw video of a Taco Bell executive who physically assaulted an Uber driver or a medical resident who berated another Uber driver. Each was either fired or relieved from duties based on these videos.
These types of videos can have a huge impact — and a lasting one — on the reputation of you and your business.
We live in the mobile video age. According to Pew Research Center, in 2015 64 percent of American adults owned a smartphone of some kind. That’s up from 35 percent in 2011. Smartphone ownership is particularly high among younger Americans. The Pew Research Center also found that 67 percent of adults use their phone to share pictures, videos or commentary about events happening in their community.
Mobile technology is a part of everyday life. People do not think twice about recording events they deem interesting. In 2015, YouTube users uploaded 300 hours of video each minute according to Statistic Brain Research Institute. The total number of hours watched on YouTube each month is 3.25 billion hours.
Businesses have to be aware of the usage of mobile technology, especially mobile video technology. Disgruntled employees or unhappy customers have uploaded less-than-complimentary videos of businesses to social platforms in the past five years. Recently, a Carrier Air Conditioning employee recorded coworkers reacting to the news of layoffs and posted it to YouTube, causing it to cross over to mainstream news media.
The restaurant industry is often a target of unflattering and very damaging videos. The drive-in restaurant chain Checkers received unwanted attention when employees were horsing around in the kitchen making a video and an employee was shown wiping a hamburger bun on the floor then making a sandwich. It was posted to Facebook then YouTube.

What can small businesses learn for reputation management in the mobile age from Checkers?

Checkers did five things right.
1. Plan in place. Checkers had a crisis response plan in place before the video hit social media. They were aware of potential situations and they had tactics in place to react quickly.
2. Monitoring the brand. Checkers was listening to conversations about their brand online and media outlets.
3. Response time. The company reacted within 24 hours by addressing the video, allowing them to manage their brand’s reputation.
4. Setting the tone. Checkers took the video very serious and they responded in a sober tone addressing the situation.
5. Addressing the appropriate channels. The video was posted on YouTube. In response, the brand created a short video covering what happened and how they addressed it.
While businesses cannot prevent customers and employees from carrying smartphones, taking videos, and then posting to social media, they can understand the threats to reputation and be prepared to manage the situation effectively.
This column was originally published in the Lexington Herald-Leader on Monday, February 22, 2016 and nationally distributed  to over 300 media outlets through the Tribune Content Agency.

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