The American Red Cross unwittingly provided a fantastic lesson in social media yesterday: watch what you tweet. Of course, this is common knowledge, but just knowing something doesn’t mean you always put it into practice. And while the organization suffered from a little embarrassment, the ultimate lesson this case study teaches is how to recover gracefully.
The Red Cross Blog posted a story about a mis-tweeted tweet, an honest response, and a forgiving community this week, which should inspire anyone who has every pressed “Tweet” and immediately cringed with regret.
On Tuesday, the Red Cross posted the following tweet to its official @RedCross account:
This was obviously meant to come from a personal account, likely that of the person who manages the Red Cross’s Twitter account. You’ll notice that it came from HootSuite, a Twitter dashboard that lets you manage multiple social media profiles at once.
A day later, the Red Cross realized its mistake, deleted the offending tweet and posted the following tweet:
“We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.”
You couldn’t ask for a classier response to an extremely embarrassing predicament.
The Red Cross Blog notes that, “while we’re a 130 year old humanitarian organization, we’re also made of up human beings.” And this sentiment holds true for any business – businesses are all made up of people. And people aren’t always perfect.
Upon owning up to their mistake, the Red Cross got several donations from people who thought the mixed-up tweet was understandable, and they even got some PR from the brewery mentioned in the offending tweet.
So, take a lesson from the Red Cross: if you make a mistake on Twitter, own up to it. It’s fine if you want to delete an inappropriate tweet, but if you acknowledge that you deleted it, you’ll show your community that you’re trustworthy, and, most importantly, that you’re just human.