One of the best handled Social Media screw-ups that I have seen came from the American Red Cross, when this errand tweet went out:
This wound up being one of my favorite Social Media screw-ups because of how well it was handled. The tweet (which, as you can see above, was sent from Hootsuite), was deleted, and replaced with this:
The humorous way to handle the rogue tweet was completely appropriate. Dogfish Head’s then jumped in on the act and created a page in which fan’s of theirs could donate to the red cross and donate blood. The story also went national and garnered good publicity for all parties. This turned into a huge win for everyone.
The Red Cross and Dogshead handled this well, but here’s the root of the mistake: the twitter user for the Red Cross confused her personal and professional accounts, because she had both linked in Hootsuite. This can be a colossal mistake and one that happens all the time because it is so easy to make. Consider the time that former Senator Chris Dodd’s staffer shot out this eloquence into the twittersphere:
Or the time Congressman Raul Labrador’s staffer confused accounts and sent out this tweet after watching a “sexy” commercial for Two Broke Girl’s:
The tweet was deleted in fourteen seconds; the staffer was fired anyway.
Confusing Twitter accounts is painfully easy to do; indeed, the two examples noted above were mistakes caused by texting the wrong Twitter account (Dodd) and using the Twitter iPhone app incorrectly (Labrador). Social Media Management programs, like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, only compound the problem.
Given the ease in which you can make this mistake, here are a few suggestions on how to avoid them:
1) On your phone, use one program (like Hootsuite or the native Twitter app) to update your professional account, and a different program for your personal one.
2) DOUBLE CHECK EVERY TWEET. So many mistakes would be avoided if people just checked their tweets: what account it was being sent from, spelling, etc. It’s amazing how many mistakes can be crammed into 140 characters.
Any other great examples of situations like this? Let us know in the comments!