The Case of the Rogue Tweet…you could be next

There have been several reports of rogue tweet sightings as of late. Sometimes this 140-character bully hides behind the cloak of darkness at 3am while other times he parades around for the world to see. Who is this master of mischief? Is it your social media guru? What about the fresh faced marketing intern? Or worse, is it YOU?!

Recently, several big brands have had the unfortunate opportunity of meeting a rogue tweet face-to-face. First, fashion designer, Kenneth Cole let his tongue get in the way of his cheek when he posted this gem of a tweet:

“Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at – KC”

As a man of great fashion, I have no doubt that his faux pas would land him on quite a few “don’t “ lists. However, he (or his politically correct camp) did make swift moves to dull the affects of the missive tweet. Although, the tweet was not removed from his Twitter feed and can be read round the world on blog posts and social media platforms, they did apologize in true Twitter form… with another tweet:

“Re Egypt tweet: we weren’t intending to make light of a serious situation. We understand the sensitivity of this historic moment –KC”

Fashionistas aren’t the only ones being overrun by rogue tweets, the Red Cross with all of its valiant efforts to support the world during devastation and conflict has also had to combat the effects of a rogue tweet. In case offering disaster relief wasn’t enough to handle, try apologizing for #gettingslizzerd. Luckily for Gloria Huang, the young woman who sent the below tweet, her company deals with life and death situations on a daily basis and therefore, took her tweet in stride.

“Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer…when we drink we do it right #gettingslizzerd”

Not only did the Red Cross handle the situation beautifully by making light of the Tweet, they also earned a few extra donations thanks to Dogfish Head’s own Twitter acknowledgement of the tweet, by requesting donations for the Red Cross on the same day.

The Red Cross has bigger problems to deal with on a regular basis than a rogue tweet so Gloria Huang didn’t have to worry about getting sacked for her big oops moment. However for Gilbert Gottfried and the company that up until a few days ago handled Chrylser’s Social Media campaign, a rogue tweet is a death sentence. Then again, when your social media company posts the following tweet, using your company’s Twitter handle:

“I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to F***ing drive”

It’s no wonder they received the ax. @ChryslerAutos looked a bit worse for wear after the above Tweet hit the Twitterverse and as a company whose new branding is riding on the importance of their new slogan “Imported from Detroit”.  Aflac also axed Gilbert Gottfried, the voice of the Aflac Duck, after his offensive and inappropriate comments about the crisis in Japan.

With all these rogue Tweets running amuck, what is a company to do? Follow the below steps and hopefully you won’t have to fight the stealthy rogue tweet anytime soon.

1)   For starters, have a game plan before you even step out on the social media playing field. Be aware of the possibility for disaster and prepare for the worst.

2)   Next, if you make a gaffe on a social site, respond quickly on that social site. Of course it should go without saying, but obviously I’m going to say it, if your mother wouldn’t approve what you posted, most likely neither will your audience.

3)   Also, it may sound great to have your intern Tweet for a few days, but are you sure your intern shares the same understanding of company culture and policy? Be aware who is acting as the voice of your company.

4)    Lastly, apologize and handle the mistake in a way that allows for the least amount of media hype.