During last night’s presidential debate the president mentioned how his grandmother relied on Social Security and Medicare as her safety net retirement plan. His grandmother that helped raise him passed away three days before he was elected president. Now, nothing in the above makes me think great mixers and appliances…so why is KitchenAid in the news today regarding politics?
Well, someone on their social media team was clearly using Tweetdeck and let their personal political views fly
This is the nightmare of everyone that uses Tweetdeck and manages multiple Twitter accounts. This PR problem from a corporate tweet isn’t the first and it won’t be the last. The content of the tweet, while insensitive and politically controversial, isn’t the issue from my point of view. The issue here is choosing the right people to be on your Twitter and social media teams, providing adequate training and managing them as seriously as you manage the engineers that build your amazing products. (Seriously, the mixer is my standard wedding gift. Brides are always very happy to see me at the wedding.)
The only course, publicly, that KitchenAid could take was to issue a retraction and apology.
Here’s the issue. Brands take to social media because it’s where their audience is and they want to reach them in new ways and engage with them and develop brand evangelists through social media. That’s all good stuff. But, the problem is they don’t take it seriously. A lot of brands have interns tweeting for them or adding it a laundry list of responsibilities for another employee that’s already overwhelmed. Or the worst part, is you don’t vet your vendor and you wind up hiring a group of people that wowed you with a beautiful proposal and fancy graphs and talk about their technology and you get impressed and sign a vendor contract.
We don’t manage Twitter accounts for our clients. We train them on how to take this seriously, how to engage with their users and mentor them in the curvy road of social media. It’s something we ask them to take seriously or just don’t do it. I’d rather they feel left out of Twitter than ruin the brand equity they have gained over generations of moms teaching their daughters to bake because some untrained and unprofessional employee/vendor decided to tweet something without thinking.
Yes, brands need to engage on social media. But, for the love of Pete…take it seriously. Here is one free tip from me to you, when you dedicate someone to be a Twitter user for your brand make it a requirement that they do not also have a personal twitter account. Their entire life of Twitter should only be on behalf of the brand. That way you’ll never get a tweet like this one.