Adult Supervision Required
October 9, 2012
We've seen "accidental" tasteless tweets over the past couple of years from some big brands. For example, here's the one from the guy who thought he was using his personal account and inadvertently tweeted this from Chrysler's Twitter account:
Even politicians have tweeted "TMI" haphazardly. Remember "Weinergate?" Oof.
So, when another person responsible for a brand's Twitter account shot off a crude tweet during last week's Presidential debate, I couldn't help but wonder when will brands start taking social media more seriously and scout, train, and monitor the people who are "minding their store" socially?
Like Chrysler, KitchenAid USA said sorry for their Twitter faux pas, but the damage was already done:
93 years of great brand building is chipped away by one thoughtless person's tweet.
And while we can all assume this member of the KitchenAid Twitter team meant to post this from their "personal" Twitter account – here's the real problem:
If somebody truly thinks it's OK to communicate these kinds of messages in their personal accounts, is that who you want minding your "social store?" Of course, everyone has the right to say and do as they wish on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but are these people the ones with the sensitivity to engage socially for your brand?
Can you specifically describe each individual's personality and ethics who speak on behalf of your brand? Do you even know all the people responsible for communicating socially for your brand?
Who are they when they're on social platforms, even when they are "off the clock?"
If those are questions you just can't answer, you're no different than Chrysler and KitchenAid USA. You are leaving your valued brands in the hands of people who have "silent liabilities" that just may come back to hurt you – when you least expect it.
These are folks who are not required to have any business sense, boardroom maturity or even perspective on what went in to building the brand you have today. These people are simply getting hired to speak for brands socially because they either they fall into that "native to social/digital" generation – or worse, "they're good at Facebook and Twitter."
Just having social media knowledge does not mean they have the sophistication, maturity, and common sense to speak in a brand's singular voice.
It's time to find out about your social team - how are they creating value, and also how are they socially when they think you're not looking? And it's time for programmers to stand up and starting acting like brand managers.
When someone has the privilege to speak for a brand socially, there's no such thing as having a "private account." There's nothing private about being social.
Without perspective there is no direction and that is why we keep seeing these "random acts of social" that often damage brands.
Consumers are holding brands (whether it's a business or a person) accountable for social incivility - regardless if the message was "accidentally" sent out or not.
"My bad" is no longer sufficient. But until brands take social media more seriously and scout, train, and monitor the folks who speak for them, we will continue to see more of these "KitchenAid USA moments."
Who's minding your store?
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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