During the 1st presidential debate of the 2012 election, President Obama mentioned how his grandmother, who raised him, died just 3 days before the election. A representative tweeting for Kitchen Aid tweeted in response:
“Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! ‘She died 3 days b4 he became president’. #nbcpolitics,”
How would you feel about your brand being forced to apologize publicly to The President of The United States?
How would you feel about your brand’s name being attached with a horribly insensitive tweet, and then spend the next few days, possibly weeks trying to control the PR nightmare?
*Grandmas everywhere could be heard throwing their mixers in the trash*
Followed by publicly begging news organizations to hear your side of the story?
To be fair to kitchen Aid, this isn’t the 1st time this has happened to a brand. Remember Kenneth Cole’s extremely insensitive Cairo tweet?
There are many companies who have found themselves in the same predicament. So, it begs the question; why? Why would a business tweet something they wouldn’t say directly to a customer? Is it the veil of the computer that causes them to feel free to type out any thought that enters their head? Doubtful. More likely the reason for so many indiscretions by brands online is a lack of professional staff.
I cannot begin to tell to you how many business owners hire young, inexperienced people, or better yet, unpaid teenagers to tweet for them. There is a mentality that while it is understood that social media is necessary, all “young people” are experts and they can easily take on the roll of social media guru.
There is a skill to a successful social media strategy. Brands need to engage their audience, build relationships, offer round the clock responsive customer service, and expose their brand to the masses in a positive light.
Rule #1 Never engage anyone or share any individual opinions regarding anything that may be considered even slightly controversial, EVER!
Rule #2 Not everyone is capable of identifying with strangers online. In fact, most people cannot do so effectively for marketing purposes or otherwise.
Rule #3 Do not hire an expensive in house social media marketing “expert” thinking they have 5-10 years of social media experience, as is often advertised in job requirements. No one has 5-10 years experience in social media marketing. (In 2008 Facebook had only 100 million users internationally and wasn’t utilized for marketing as it is today and the most relevant networks of today did not exist yet.)
Rule #4 Your brand is too important to allow amateurs to present you online. Social media evolves daily. Let those who are students of the industry manage your online reputation. Hire a professional marketing firm.