How much damage can you cause in 140 characters?
With over 500 million registered users and 400 million tweets sent per day, Twitter has become a staple in our digital culture for how we connect and communicate with others. Whether broadcasting daily musings or breaking news faster than media outlets, Twitter is a powerful force where one tweet can earn you acclaimed fame and another can spark the social media fire of the year.
Last year, we saw Ashton Kutcher turn over his Twitter account to his publicity team at Katalyst Media after sending a tweet in support of Joe Paterno. Kutcher later apologized for not knowing the full story. Meanwhile in Detroit, a disgruntled employee of Chrysler Autos dropped an F-bomb from the company account in reference to drivers in the Motor City.
This year, the Twittersphere didn’t disappoint in delivering more social media blunders. From KitchenAid to StubHub, take a look at how some of the top brands managed to land themselves a spot in our top 3 tweetastrophes of 2012.
After misfiring an incredibly offensive tweet during this year’s first presidential debate, KitchenAid learned first-hand how quickly social can turn its back against you. Cynthia Soledad, the senior director of KitchenAid’s brand and marketing division, took to the social media site to apologize, but this didn’t stop an ugly progression of tweets expressing disdain for the company and protesting KitchenAid appliances.
Shortly after the KitchenAid incident, StubHub stole the spotlight when an employee posted a vulgar tweet from the corporate social handle. Within an hour, StubHub deleted the tweet and issued an official apology, but the damage was done. Twitter lit up like fireworks on the Fourth of July, while StubHub’s HR team tracked down the employee who confused their personal account with business account.
American Apparel & Gap
A note to all brands: capitalizing on national disasters is not the way to increase sales. American Apparel learned this the hard way when they email blasted a special 20% off everything sale for those who were “bored” during the devastating Hurricane Sandy storm on the East Coast. While a flood of angry tweets ridiculed American Apparel for insensitivity, clothing store GAP faced the same social backlash for their sales-y tweet in tribute to Sandy.
- To avoid being the next tweetastrophe, use a social media management platform like HootSuite or TweetDeck for employees to schedule brand related posts only.
- Prohibiting employees from adding corporate accounts to personal devices will also decrease the chance of misfiring from the wrong handle.
- Ultimately, your employees are an extension of your brand, so emphasize that personal tweets can reflect company values.
- Especially on Twitter, compassion and sensitivity are vital to building your brand’s reputation. In local or national news, make sure you know the full story before tweeting or posting anything on social.
- Don’t forget, if you need help navigating the social media waters, make sure to get a second opinion from social media experts.
Can you think of any other tweetastrophes to add to the list? Leave a comment below or reach out to me on Twitter: @laanderson