The Toronto Raptors have committed a blatant PR foul on the social media court.
According to SBNation.com, the team’s official PR Twitter account has responded to a torrent of criticisms of the Raptors (who are now 4-15) from their fans.
The responses show that the Raptors’ PR crew might need some schooling when it comes to carrying on a conversation via social channels.
To wit, in response to a fan complaining about the Raptors’ Andrea Bargnani, the team tweeted, “Kind of excited we have worst player in NBA history. Will have to get that in the game notes.” (Wince.)
Another tweet from the PR team: “My bad. You're around the team and know more than I do.” (We know, pass the Maalox.)
Call it Exhibit A in how companies and brands should not engage in a Twitter conversation with their constituents, customers or prospects.
On Dec. 4 we ran an item on how PR executives should engage media reps via Twitter. However, the Raptors sloppy play in communicating with its fans merits a few pointers for PR pros on how to engage Jane Q. Public on Twitter.
In responding via Twitter to inquiries, complaints or comments, don’t be too cute or too clever. That type of retort is likely to backfire. Such a response will trivialize the original message and alienate the person who sent it.
Regardless of the tonality of the tweet (whether you think the subject matter is marginal or just plain silly) try to respond as if you’re having a conversation with a colleague. Be respectful. Dole out any humor with care (most jokes tend to land with a veritable thud). In a similar vein, it never quite hurts to be a little self-deprecating (without compromising yourself or your brand).
Treat the dialogue with respect and, with apologies to President Obama, see if the exchange has the potential for a teachable moment about your products, services and/or corporate culture.
Follow PR News: @PRNews