Chrysler drops the “F” bomb in a tweet and the American Red Cross accidentally posts about drinking some brews. Tweeting from the wrong account (a company account and not your personal account) is apparently an epidemic sweeping the world of social media and is of course, something for which companies are learning to be prepared. These situations seem like a product of human error and basically, inevitable and bound happen at some point during the execution of a social strategy. Companies know these slip-ups cause an instant media frenzy, and warrant a direct response. So the question is how do we prepare? Here are a few tips:
1. Do everything possible to prevent it from happening. As already noted, these actions seem to be the result of a mix of carelessness and human error, so this is difficult to accomplish. Technology will get you at one point or another, so it is understandable that these things happen. However, if there is going to post something that walks the line of appropriate vs. inappropriate, it is very important to be sure the tweet or update is coming from the correct account. Stress this fact as much as possible and cross your fingers it doesn’t happen.
2. Be ready and have a sense of humor. When you think about it, if it isn’t a security breach or a leak of confidential information, the slip up might just be funny. If it is, play it up. In these situations, humor is your best friend and the best way to encourage the public to forgive you. If it isn’t already funny, make it funny. Companies poking fun at their own mistakes are relateable and perceived as more trustworthy.
3. Don’t try to hide it. Remember, social media is about transparency! Oh and if a company posts something and it stays up for longer than three seconds, someone has probably already taken a screenshot as indestructible evidence and the company is caught red-handed. Trying to cover up or hide something like this is useless, and the cover-up will receive more backlash for the dishonesty than by owning up to the mistake. Check out Chrysler’s blog post response to the tweet and the fact that the person who tweeted was fired.
4. Respond through social media. The slip up happened through social media and those are the people who are interested and waiting to find out what is going to happen, so let them be the first to know. Post a response on the same outlet where the slip up happened, then spread the information out through the other outlets. Do this simultaneously and as quickly as possible.
Moral of the story: It could happen. Be prepared, take responsibility, and take action.