Another day, another lesson in navigating the tricky waters of social media.
Chrysler’s official Twitter stream let slip the mother of all dirty words, the F-bomb. Sure, the Internet may have desensitized many to racy language — especially those of us that have ever moderated online communities — but as a rule, such language in official corporate communications mediums is a no-no. It comes just weeks after a “rogue tweet” from The Red Cross that raised eyebrows at first, but ultimately became a textbook case on how to deftly recover from a social media misstep.
There are a couple of lessons to be learned here, the first and foremost of which is to isolate personal and professional Twitter accounts. Some Twitter apps like Seesmic make it easy to consolidate social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook. It was an apparent “inability to use HootSuite” — a popular social media dashboard — that’s to blame for The Red Cross’ slip-up.
Avoid the temptation of linking your personal account to software or services that also handle the accounts of your business or those of your clients. That way if you’re prone to using cheeky or colorful language, you’ll minimize the chances that it’ll creep into your professional social media streams.
Similarly, if you’re still managing your online social presences using your Internet browser, well first, reconsider. Seriously, there are several great tools that make you more efficient on that front. Secondly, consider strictly limiting your personal tweets and Facebook updates to your smartphone, tablet or personal PC or notebook.
When it comes to selling products, especially products with mass-market appeal, it’s simply good business to not offend. Even niche sites like this one and others that cater to sustainability, cleantech and all-around eco-friendliness should do their best to stay on-message. Why let a less-than-flattering tweet undo months of smart, thoughtful and strategic updates, retweets and bursts of engagement?
Even if things do go south, look to how The Red Cross handled things. With a little earnest humor — and seemingly nonplussed by the gaffe, to boot — it owned up to the error and diffused the situation, transforming it into a non-event. Its easy-going handling of the situation went as far as to demonstrate that its one non-profit that “gets” social media.
And that’s something you want everyone saying about you, whether you’re an auto company or an eco-blogger.