Sooner or later, it’s going to happen. One of your social media channels is going to carry a message that should not have gone out. It might be an ill-conceived attempt at humor or promotion (hello, Kenneth Cole), or just a simple mix-up between your social media captain’s private and public feed. (We’re looking in your general direction, rogue @ChryslerAutos f-bomber.)
The question is, how do you recover?
The Red Cross rebounded nicely from a goof-up last month, diffusing a potentially embarrassing situation with a little bit of humor combined with a dash of perspective. (While we’re here, let’s recognize the nice work by Dogfish Head to leverage the opportunity to do a little good, for both the world and its brand.)
Chrysler’s response to its f-bomb situation was slightly less inspiring. Having your account “compromised” isn’t exactly the same as the having the person running it make a mistake and/or use poor judgment. (Not surprisingly, the good folks at Dogfish Head have five times as many Twitter followers as the official Chrysler Twitter feed. Being engaging and straightforward tends to breed fans and followers.) A follow-up post on the car company’s official blog made no bones about where blame should be placed, even naming the “agency of record” that employed the now-former social media account manager.
Some first-cut take-aways: in the social media scape, honesty is good, as is transparency and personality. The corporate, buttoned-up approach isn’t always effective. (Oh, and a social media manager who doesn’t drink, swear or post status updates on personal-life chicanery is probably worth six figures.)
Clearly, the response to a rouge message will be dictated at least in part by the message’s content. That said, a smart organization will at least ponder some scenarios to better prepare for the inevitable.