A social media strategy is an important component of many public relations campaigns, and it’s also often critical in crisis response. (Or it can be part of a personal meltdown, see #winning). But as you suggest, social media is frequently mishandled!
One recent and particularly good use of social media was the American Red Cross’s handling of an embarrassing Tweet. The organization found itself in a tough spot when an employee accidentally Tweeted about beer – yes, booze – on the @RedCross Twitter account rather than her own. What did the Red Cross do?
It reacted swiftly and responsibly. First, it took ownership and apologized for its actions. Second, it removed the Tweet but didn’t deny its existence, which was entirely appropriate since a beer Tweet has no place among serious requests for blood and donations. It Tweeted a response that was both relevant and humorous.
And lastly, the Red Cross transformed a blunder into a fundraising opportunity by teaming up with Dogfish Head Brewery and using the hashtag from the original Tweet — #gettngslizzerd — to make the entire debacle lighthearted and positive.
No one had to lose their job, the Red Cross raised money, and a 130-year-old humanitarian organization showed that it could keep up with the speed and levity of Web 2.0.
Stay on message,