GettngSlizzerd – Or, How To Deal With a Social Media Misstep

Alan Belniakbusiness, Marketing, Social Media2 Comments

#GettngSlizzered - Red Cross Tweet

You may have read about the recent (February 15, 2011) erroneous Tweet from the Red Cross Twitter account.

The story itself is somewhat amusing.  I happen to like Dogfish Head beer a lot, so my eyes were drawn to it when the story popped up in my feed reader.  The tweet itself isn’t all that damaging.  But the lesson that can be learned is far greater.

First, Gloria Huang is human.  She made a small mistake, and tweeted from the corporate account instead of her personal account.  I empathize with her, because I’ve done the same.  Thankfully, as one of Huang’s colleagues points out, it wasn’t that big of a deal.  What happens next is a true capitalization of (mini-) crisis intervention and real-time action.

  • Huang tweeted on her own that it was a mistake (owned up to the action).
  • The Red Cross quickly acknowledged the fact that it was a mistake, and brushed it under the rug (in a humorous way, thus helping to diffuse the situation).
  • Dogfish Head Brewery (hi, guys!) capitalized:
    • they created a short URL, driving people to donate to the Red Cross.
    • They even co-opted Huang’s #gettngslizzerd hashtag.

What would’ve happened in this situation 18 months ago?  Likely nothing (this isn’t a dig against the Red Cross; I’m speaking in generalities here).  But if people were astute and quick, they would have been all over The Red Cross for an insensitive tweet, being unprofessional, and a slew of other atrocities.

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA label

Instead, The Red Cross approaches the situation swiftly, admit fault, make light of it, and put it behind them.  The unlikely partner in the event (in this case, Dogfish Head) even jumps in and makes sunshine out of all this by driving donations.  In turn, they ask for people to use the hashtag.  It reached quite a few people.  I suspect some of these people never heard of Dogfish Head before (too bad for them – try the 120 minute!), and perhaps haven’t donated to charity recently.  Now, through a tweet and a swift capitalization, perhaps they can check off two things on their list.

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