To all those who work with social media: When was the last time we warned you to keep your personal and professional accounts separate? Well, it’s time to make that point again.
During last night’s presidential debate, moments after President Obama mentioned his late grandmother, appliance maker KitchenAid’s official Twitter account sent out the following tweet:
“Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! ‘She died 3 days b4 he became president’. #nbcpolitics”
The brand’s account was immediately bombarded with angry responses, and the tweet was swiftly deleted. In its place appeared this apology:
“Deepest apologies for an irresponsible tweet that is in no way a representation of the brand’s opinion. #nbcpolitics”
Later, Cynthia Soledad, KitchenAid’s Senior Director of Marketing, began sending tweets from @KitchenAidUSA, trying her best to perform some acrobatic damage control:
“I would like to personally apologize to President @BarackObama, his family and everyone on Twitter for the offensive tweet sent earlier.”
“It was carelessly sent in error by a member of our Twitter team who, needless to say, won’t be tweeting for us anymore.”
“That said, I take full responsibility for my team. Thank you for hearing me out.”
In what will likely prove to be a smart PR move (although we can’t say whether it will squash the backlash), she then tweeted directly to several media outlets expressing her desire to speak on the record about the incident. Soledad’s response was effective and comprehensive: she let everyone paying attention know that she and her company have nothing to hide and that KitchenAid takes responsibility for the actions of its employees.
This story is obviously a case of a social media manager who believed that he or she was tweeting from a personal account but was, in fact, still logged in as KitchenAid. The slight may seem small, but it presents yet another example of how quickly an errant tweet can pull an entire brand off the rails.