06 July, 2011

C'mon, Brands!

We've all seen it happen.

An errant, rogue tweet appears and it is SUPER-EFFECTIVE, causing stunned silence and shaking heads. Within minutes, negative comments and tweets flood in condemning the brand and the offending update.

Quicker than you can hit the "Prnt Scrn" button, the offending Brand's social media teams scramble to investigate and eliminate, hoping that they can spare themselves and the company they represent from any damages caused by the thoughtlessness of a single ill-conceived tweet.

I understand the issues at play here; when I first got my smart-phone I was constantly updating my Facebook or Twitter just because I had thought of something interesting or funny. And, with advances in science and technology, instead of having to wait until I got back to my laptop or computer, I can just instantly record this apparently brilliant thought through my phone.

Maybe that’s exactly the problem- the ability to update social media sites as soon as the thought passes our brains. We no longer have a chance to realize that our clever post may not be as funny as we originally thought.

This seems to be happening a lot lately: companies or brands pulling a social media ‘faux pas’ and then scrambling to apologize and move past it.

In a world where communications can happen instantly and literally everything you've done online has the potential to live eternally, why are brands/companies not giving their updates a second thought before hitting the post button?

Pardon me if I borrow a bit from SportsCenter's “C'mon, Man!” but it makes me want to shout: "C'mon, Brands!"

Entenmann’s, more known for delicious donuts and cakes than for its social media presence, is the latest to put its virtual foot in its mouth with their #notguilty tweet.

Without question the Casey Anthony case is a sad, sad event. When news hit earlier this month of the not guilty verdict, everyone was weighing in on Twitter about the verdict using the #notguilty hashtag.

Entenmann’s social team, obviously looking for any opportunity to get their brand more visibility, concocted the following misguided tweet.

After taking a second to allow their brains to catch up with their fingers, they removed the tweet and not only apologized in a follow-up tweet but also in a second tweet with a note saying how sincerely sorry they were for offending people.

C’mon, Brands!

How many times is this going to happen?

How long until companies learn to predict what people will find funny and what they’ll find offensive?

Judging by the high frequency with which this has been happening lately, I speculate that it will be a long time before brands get wise and realize they can’t piggy back on hashtags to build their audiences and need to watch what they tweet.

Brands need to build their audiences the old fashioned way: by being responsive and forthcoming with content; not shoot for an “ironic-cool” vibe by making light of a serious issue.

With the amount of news-coverage that happens after all of these mistake tweets, you’d think that companies would learn from their compatriots and tighten the belts on their social media teams.

For some freakin’ reason, they don’t.

C’mon, Brands!

Simply put – go back to a simpler time and think before you tweet or update your company’s social media presences. Doesn't anyone remember what happened to Imus?
Despite how quickly you believe you can post and delete an update, someone can just as fast take a screenshot and upload it anywhere they want.

It’s great that you’re on those channels to begin with, just remember to play by the rules like everyone else. Or, do what you want, and enjoy the backlash.

Either way, we'll all be waiting and watching for the next Kenneth Cole...

Sean Sutherland, Associate Account Executive/Keyshawn Johnson Imitator

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