CEOs told to ‘think before you tweet’ following Just Eat and Uber Twitter argument
Following the public spat on Twitter between the CEOs of Just Eat and Uber, Business Leader spoke to some industry experts on the potential legal fallout from being a vocal leader on social media.
First, Toni Vitale, Partner, Gateley Legal spoke about the troubles other CEOs would face in this scenario.
Chief executives are being warned to “think twice before they tweet” after the boss of Just Eat Takeaway.com, Jitse Groen, was told his Twitter spat with Uber threatened to undermine the firm’s reputation. He became the latest in a growing list of chief executives to be rebuked by customers, investors and even regulators over ill-judged tweets.
Companies should be clear in their social media policies exactly what employees and directors can and cannot do on social media. In the case of Game Retail Ltd v Laws it was established that an employer who dismisses an employee for posting offensive tweets in their own time, and using a personal Twitter account, was dismissed fairly, although this will very much depend on the individual facts.
In that case the employee was followed by many game retail shops and customers so there were blurred edges between what was private and what was work related. I would advise anyone using Twitter or other social media to open up a private account, completely separate from their work and use the private account to comment.
There are many other ways in which employees can breach the law online. We advise lots of clients on social media use and I always recommend that companies should have a policy and strategy to deal with the fallout from an employee tweet.
There are numerous ways in which a single tweet can cause legal issues for the tweeter and their employer, so companies should be prepared for the following scenarios:
- Defamation – Defamation law protects a person’s reputation. If a tweet causes a person to be exposed to ‘hatred, ridicule, or contempt’, encourages exclusion of that person from society or imputes a lack of professional skill or efficiency or lowers a person’s standing ‘in the estimation of right-thinking members of society’ this could give rise to a civil claim in the UK. False tweets with the intent to injure another’s commercial interests, or recklessness as to the truth, could amount to malicious falsehood which can give rise to a damages award. In some jurisdictions (including 5 in Europe) libel is also a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment.
- Harassment – UK law protects against harassment under The Protection from Harassment Act 1997. Tweets which the ‘reasonable person’ would conclude cause alarm or distress may amount to harassment. In addition, a tweet that is grossly offensive, or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character, will be an criminal offence under The Communications Act 2003 which could result in a fine or a prison sentence of up to six months.
- False statement – A tweet containing a false statement that induces another person to act on it may offend laws against deceit and the making of misrepresentations. Employees need to be careful about criticising their company’s competitors even in a parody (such tweets could fall foul of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 and advertising rules).
- Fraud – The Fraud Act 2006 protects against fraudulent activities. An impersonator who opens a Twitter account could be exposed to a claim for fraud if the person who has been impersonated suffers loss or damage as a result of the impersonation.
- Assault – A tweet could even amount to an assault if the person to whom it was directed has a genuine belief that physical harm is imminent.
How to use social media platforms to successfully scale your business
In order to avoid the troubles of growing your business in the age of social media, Tim Hyde, the Founder and Director of Social Media Marketing Agency, TWH Media spoke to Business Leader on the best practices for CEOs.
Scaling your business, whilst maintaining efficiency, is possibly one of the hardest things to do in performance advertising. The reason for that is down to the way the platforms are set up.
There are two traditional scaling methods – horizontal scaling and vertical scaling
Vertical scaling increases the daily spend on each of the ads. As an example, you could start off at £10 a day and push that up to £1000 or £10,000 per day. This used to work, but things have changes and now it’s pretty difficult to do unless you’ve got an amazing advert and performance.
Instead of increasing daily spend from, for example, £10 to £1000 per day, you run 10 different £10- a-day ads to get you to that £1000 per day total spend. To scale horizontally you need to create more adverts rather than just increasing the daily spend.
You will see much better performance from horizontal scaling when you use rules to incrementally increase daily budgets, rather than massively increasing them over a given time frame.
You can set up automatic rules; if your target is 3 times your return on ad spend, you can tell Facebook to automatically increase the daily budget by 10 or 15% if your ad is hitting that target and this is probably the most effective way to scale vertically.
Comparability between accounts and platforms
There is a huge advantage to outsourcing your performance marketing as not only do you get access to a specialist but also the advantage of that agency being able to compare against other brands in other locations, and potentially even brands in similar verticals
For example, if we can see that the CPM’s are really high in the US and this is consistent throughout, this identifies a universal trend across the platform. If you are only working on one brand and one ad account, it would be almost impossible to make those sorts of assumptions with such limited data. With multiple clients, you can study overall performance and whether specific ad platforms are broken or have been down for a period of time. This insight can then be offered to the client and changes suggested to their plan or strategy based on this evidence.
Interest-based versus lookalikes
New clients often haven’t had a pixel setup implemented, so there is no pre-existing data to work from. This means that from an audience perspective, you have to target cold or upper funnel audiences, and the way to do that is through interest-based audiences. On most platforms, you can target people based on their interests, age and in some cases, financial information. Using some of our bike brands as an example, we have generic bike audiences which are really broad- those who have an interest in cycling, cycling teams, the Tour de France and so on, but we also have a specific audience in cycling publications which have similar attributes.
In addition, you can also create persona-based audiences. These are created based on different interests but instead of getting everyone interested in cycling (from the previous example), we would target someone of a certain age group. We can then use this customer profile and target your ideal customer through their interests; this is really effective.
Once you have over 100 conversions through the pixel, or if you’re working with a client who has pre-existing data, you are then able to create lookalike audiences and these audiences are your best performers
What is a look alike audience?
If you have 100 customers, Google will then duplicate that audience by targeting people with similar characteristics to your customers, based on aspects such as finance or demographic. Your existing audience has already bought your product so by duplicating it, you have doubled your audience. Therefore, on a paid social, the lookalike audience will probably be your best performing audience.
You can also stack lookalikes. Instead of targeting one lookalike audience, you can put lookalike audiences together, creating an even wider reach.
Brands love to hit people with offers because they are a good converter. If you offer a 20% discount on your product, you’ll get a much higher clickthrough rate and probably a conversion. One of the problems that we see over and over is that brands are only trading on discounts. As a first interaction with your brand, customers are likely to make a purchase because people like the offer and want to buy it ‘now’, but this means you are only trading on one messaging style. To avoid this, it’s better to tailor the copy or the type of creative specifically, depending on where people are within the funnel.
In the upper funnel, videos explaining the proposition of the brand and the USP of the product are effective, making sure that you are educating your audience about your brand and offering so that even if they don’t purchase, they will know more about you, and you will have infiltrated their subliminal radar.
In your lower funnel, your audience is already educated about your brand and this allows you to push the sales boundaries and provide them with an offer because they’ve already been through multiple touchpoints, so your final right hook could be a 5 or 10% offer.
The results from these methods will be your guide on what is working and what to avoid but regular tweaks and refinement are key. And your safest bet? The advice of an expert who does this morning, noon and night – it’s a minefield out there!
Appealing to the next generation of workers
With the very public argument putting both businesses in a negative light, it is important to consider your approach to social media when looking to recruit. Social media is the biggest influence when choosing a career.
As a new cohort of Generation Z prepares to enter the workforce, new research from Accenture reveals less than a quarter (24%) of young people are confident in securing a technology job, despite almost half (42%) believing there will be more jobs in technology because of COVID-19.
Accenture surveyed 1,000 UK-based 16-21-year-olds on their career aspirations as they finish education for the summer and consider their long-term options.
The research also finds that while nearly half (44%) of young women report they have good digital skills, compared to 40% of young men – the survey indicates this confidence slips when it comes to applying for in-demand technology jobs. Just a fifth (20%) of young women are confident they could secure a technology job compared to nearly a third (29%) of young men.
Shaheen Sayed, Accenture’s Technology lead in the UK & Ireland, said: “If the digital native generation is not turning to technology as a career option, then we have a huge pipeline problem for the technology profession. Young people know technology is completely redefining the world right now – but their lack of confidence in securing a tech job indicates a worrying disconnect between young people, particularly girls, and a changing jobs market.
Tech talent will be needed in all industries, not just in start-ups, and we cannot afford a digital skills deficit. To help dismantle barriers, employers must nurture tech talent from all backgrounds and recruit from a range of disciplines, including the humanities and arts, as well as STEM subjects. The convergence of these disciplines is still underplayed in how we talk about technology and its application.”
Social media is the biggest influencer on career options
When young people are considering a career, they are turning to digital channels for advice. Social media is seen as their top influence (31%), ahead of parents (29%) and teachers (24%).
In a sign that young people are being swayed by jobs in cutting-edge technologies – respondents say they would most likely choose jobs in AI, data analytics, and cybersecurity. More than a quarter (27%) of students gain their understanding of these technologies from TV and film, rather than school (19%).
“It’s striking that young people are influenced more by digital channels than their connections at home and school when choosing their next steps,” added Sayed. “Careers advice will need to meet young people where they are at and paint an engaging picture of the skills required for the economy today. Developing the next generation of tech talent requires more than having coding on the curriculum. Technology moves quickly and subjects must evolve to equip young people with the digital skills that will drive economic growth. Employers are looking for people to work with technologies, like AI, as they tackle global challenges like climate change and become more competitive.”
Tech Career Confidence Suffers from North-South Divide
The research also finds young people’s confidence in their digital skills varies by region. For example, more than half (52%) of Generation Z respondents from the South of England say they are confident in their digital skills – compared to only 38% in the North of England and 37% in Scotland.
On securing a technology job after the pandemic, young people in Northern Ireland report the most confidence (at 35%), followed by Greater London (33%). Young people in Scotland report the least confidence, with only 16% of respondents feeling able to secure a technology job.
Sayed added: “Businesses are adopting technology at speed – all workers will require technology skills and employers want to tap into pools of young talent from every corner of the UK. Businesses must step up to fill the skills gap by forging relationships with schools and academic institutions. We need industry-engaged curriculums to inspire, IT professionals that can lean in to teach, and qualifications that help students become job-ready.”