Keep Your Eyes on Secondary Social Sites for Union Activity

Secondary Social Media

Any time I speak to customers and clients about social media, I advise them to develop a strategy for monitoring their brand.  For most HR practitioners, this  mostly involves Twitter feeds, Facebook timelines and LinkedIn profiles.  It’s important to remember that there are several secondary areas on these social platforms that you might want check out, at least once in a while.  You never know what you might find.

LinkedIn Groups

When LinkedIn created Groups, I started a few, including an alumni group or a former employer of mine. The idea behind the group was that it would be a branded place for current and former employees to congregate. The group was marginally successful, amassing about 700 members over a four year period. There was conversation from time to time, but it was never vibrant.  I was the only moderator, and would approve membership and comments a couple of times a month.

About two weeks ago, the volume of conversation and comments took a massive jump.  I went in to take a look and found that someone was posting a massive amount of technical product questions related to alleged hypothetical problems with various products manufactured by my former employer.  People from the group, both current and former employees were responding to these queries in an open and helpful manner.  Upon further review, I discovered that the person posting most of these questions was a plaintiff attorney who mentioned that he was active in bringing class action suits against companies like my former company.  He was using the alumni group to do discovery, obtaining responses from people with deep product knowledge. Most of them were answering the questions openly, probably assuming he was either a former colleague or a customer seeking assistance.  I removed the referenced poster from the group, since they were neither an employee or a former employee.

Places to keep an eye on

Without careful moderation of groups, and some periodic monitoring, the same thing could be happening with your company on social media. It well worth the time to take a look every now and then.  I’d suggest that you check the following areas at least once a month.

  1. Google Groups – click on the link and use the search function with your brand name or any other term you may deem applicable.
  2. LinkedIn Groups Directory – you can browse companies by name.
  3. Facebook groups  – can be found by using the search function and then dropping down to the bottom of the drop-down menu to select “Show more results”.  That will take you to a menu on the left hand side of your screen where you can search a variety of sections including events and groups.

Use caution

Be aware of privacy laws and the potential of inadvertently collecting information that could lead to issues of surveillance or retaliation.  This is not a strategy I’m recommending for reference checks, or for building a disciplinary case.  This is for brand protection and awareness.  More complex stuff should be vetted by counsel.

Did I miss any sites? Mention your in the comments.

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Michael Vandervort

Mike Vandervort is Human resources strategist. HR consultant, writer and speaker. His specialties include Social Media, Employee Relations, HR, & Labor Relations. Connect with Michael.

Reader Interactions


  1. Shannon says

    Hi Mike – I would also recommend Glassdoor, the forums on and Yahoo! Answers. There are conversations going on all over the web … hard to keep up sometimes!

  2. Michael says

    All good recommendations, Shannon. I first started mentioning Glassdoor back in 2009, I think. Loads of other sites as well, Pissed Comsumer, Yelp, even Craigslist…but I was trying to get some discussion going 🙂


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