While Twitter and other social networking accounts can be used to successfully broadcast your business to the public, what happens when the wrong information gets transmitted? Broadcasting through social media platforms has become a mandatory facet of any marketing campaign, but it can also be played to a company's disadvantage.

Ailing music chain HMV saw today what can happen when company social media accounts are used to their own disadvantage. HMV, who had to recently call in administrators, had their social media tool used against them when employees whose jobs are at risk, used the company Twitter account to broadcast angry protests 'live from HR'.

Upset employees released Tweets from inside a company HR meeting; stating, 'There are 60 of us being fired at once', and 'mass execution of loyal employees who love the brand' were elicited onto the company's Twitter feed and available to view by the company's 62,561 followers.

This incident demonstrates the dangers of a company social media account, or rather who has access to it. While you allow yourself to broadcast to the masses you also make your company vulnerable to incidents such as these.

Eventually the account's control was regained but how does a company regain reputation after an incident such as this? In the case of a large brand such as HMV this may be difficult, but in the case of smaller companies there a number of methods that you can employ to protect your company's image when using social networking;

Have a real cause to use social network sites

If you have a company social media account, make sure there is a genuine reason as to why you have it. That way you can base company decisions around which channels you intend to focus on.

Use your social network accounts efficiently

Focus on the channels that you have identified as key for your business rather than a number of different channels; that way you can manage released content more efficiently.

Create a company persona

Make sure any social media accounts are not created using personal addresses. Instead create them using a company persona which is controlled on a senior level. That way you maintain control over the company social media accounts and can monitor what is transmitted to your following.

Carry out an audit your social media accounts

Ask employees if they have created any accounts on the company's behalf or created groups. If you discover that they have then gain control over the usernames and passwords.

Responsible use policy

Legislate that employees must protect the company's image at all times when using social media accounts. Many companies have severe disciplinary action for those who use social media accounts to tarnish a company's reputation. So if necessary, implement restrictive measures to the access of your companies social media accounts.

In the wrong hands, access to your companies  social media accounts can result in hazardous results for your company's image. By implementing the above methods you can stop an incident like HMV's happening to your company.