Earlier this year, a Red Cross employee tweeted though Hootsuite about beer and getting slizzerd. The tweet inadvertently landed on the Red Cross twitter account and commented: “Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch Beer…when we drink we do it right #GettingSlizzerd.”
Making comments on Twitter you’re having a beer isn’t wrong, but it’s not a tweet you’d expect from Red Cross particularly when there are hurricanes and other natural disasters happening.
This clearly could have been a social media catastrophe for the Red Cross. But the organization had a plan and quickly stepped in and owned the blunder. They covered it up with a humorous follow up on Twitter that read: “We’ve deleted the rogue tweet, but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.”
From there Dogfish got involved. They responded with “@dogfish beer fans, donate 2 @redcross 2 day. Tweet with #gettingslizzerd. Donate here.”
The unintentional beer drinking tweet went from bad to an impromptu fundraising campaign in a matter of hours. Though not every social media blunder ends like that one did.
Clearly, the Red Cross was prepared for a blunder and was quick on their feet effectively handling the matter. Social media blunders happen more often than we’d like to admit, but there are good and bad ways of dealing with them. Josh Morgan, Vice President of Edelman Digital, and Lori Bertelli, Public Relations Manager of Augustine Ideas, spoke at the Sacramento Social Media Club and shared some horror stories of how a little mistake can snowball into a catastrophe.
Morgan and Bertelli also offered some steps you can take to help minimize the damage if you are faced with a social media catastrophe:
1. Take into account your audience before you say anything on social media, not just the people you know are in your audience. Keep in mind, not everybody thinks exactly the same way you do.
2. Before you open up any type of social media forum, have a policy in place that lets people know that certain types of speech aren’t going to be tolerated and that the platform is being moderated.
3. Take into account the individual doing your social media postings. An intern may be comfortable using Facebook and Twitter, but are they the right person to be representing your brand online? It is easier to teach someone who knows your brand/business about social media than it is to teach someone who only knows social media about your company.
4. Own a mistake and do it quickly. Don’t try to hide from it. It’s not going away.
5. Set up multiple administrators on all social media accounts just in case you can’t get in touch with someone when you need to – or they leave the company.
6. Make it easy to do the right thing when you are setting up your policies.
7. Understand that you can’t control social media. Instead, be ready to react and take ownership when something does happen.
8. Don’t be insulting or come off defensive. All it takes is one bad post to create a social media nightmare.
These eight ways of handling a social media blunder will keep you prepared because a blunder could happen, and it is best to be ready instead of being caught off guard.