There is no good way to do the wrong thing

Written on Oct 19 2012

Social media has unlocked new doors of vulnerability for businesses of all size and type.

As service and retail providers, or product and brand developers, we must have a presence in mediums where our customers spend the majority of their time. With more than half the U.S. population eagerly embracing sites like Facebook and more than a third using Twitter, everyone is virtually ‘living’ their lives online.

A major problem businesses face with maintaining a ‘social presence’ is managing this gateway of content into their company. When businesses allow access to employees for managing the social presences without firewalls in place, it can sometimes result in catastrophic mishaps.

Take KitchenAid and the American Red Cross for example:

  • A political tweet was sent out from a KitchenAid employee on its official account during the presidential debate. The tweet read, “Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! ‘She died 3 days b4 he became president.'”
  • An American Red Cross employee accidentally tweeted an alcohol-related post to the charity’s Twitter account rather than to her personal account. The Tweet read, “Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer…. when we drink we do it right #gettngslizzerd.”

Needless to say, both organizations had to quickly address major obstacles in order to mitigate a social media crisis that could potentially harm their reputation.

KitchenAid responded by continually tweeting apologetic messages such as “Deepest apologies for an irresponsible tweet that is in no way a representation of the brand’s opinion.” However, the story was picked up by CNN and broadcasted to the nation. This story received many comments from spectators voicing their disapproval and threatening to boycott the brand for being irresponsible with the management and actions of their employees.

The American Red Cross had much greater success with the response to their rogue tweet, which read, “We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.” This light sense of humor resonated well with their audience and actually resulted in a donation parade from Dogfish Beer enthusiasts.

Regardless of the fact that a crisis may sometimes be averted with some quick wit and a little bit of luck, it’s necessary to have tools in place to avert these impending problems. SimplySocial has developed such a tool that allows organizations to build their social presence while maintaining complete control over the content, branding, and information released to these public channels. This minimizes risk of a ‘rogue tweet’ or ‘scandalous post’.

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