The "send" button can be an effective tool for PR pros as Twitter and social media in general is an important part of a communicator’s everyday role.
On the other hand, it can also create an unwanted PR crisis thanks to an inappropriate message that results in negative press, a damaged brand and a drop in sales.
That’s the situation KitchenAid found itself in following the presidential debate on Oct. 3. During the debates, President Obama referred to his deceased grandmother who had helped raise him. KitchenAid, known for its mixers and blenders, inexcusably mixed politics and humor with the following tweet from its company feed: “Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! 'She died 3 days b4 he became president."
The tweet went viral, leaving KitchenAid scrambling to clean up the mess the irresponsible tweet had caused. Cynthia Soleda, head of the KitchenAid brand, tweeted: "Deepest apologies for an irresponsible tweet that is in no way a representation of the brand's opinion."
According to reports, a KitchenAid employee mistakenly sent out the tweet on the corporate account, rather than through a personal one.
This incident was just another example of the dangers social media can cause. For every good thing social media brings to an organization in its ability to help publicize products and campaigns, one slip-up can overshadow all of that the moment the send button is pressed.
As we discussed in a previous PR News article, organizations have to implement social media policies to protect employees and their brand. PR pros and anyone employee must remember that whether on the personal or professional account, you’re representing your organization and a tasteless tweet can prove to be damaging
It can’t be said enough: Think before you hit send.
Follow Jamar Hudson: @jamarhudson