Reflections on KitchenAid’s Twitter Gaffe
The social media ecosphere has been going crazy after the gaffe made by a KitchenAid employee who thought they were tweeting from their personal account but quickly found out they weren’t.
When I first read this story all I could think of was what a sickening feeling the individual responsible must have had when they realized what had happened. We’ve all had an email, tweet or message we couldn’t recall and had to live with the consequences; to some degree that has become the nature of the beast.
There have been some really good reports on what happened and how it ultimately impacted KitchenAid and their brand. One of the best is from Simply Measured which shows the statistical response to the entire event including the crisis management by KitchenAid’s team.
There are two really important lessons to be learned from this story. One is what NOT to do. One is what TO do. Employ the first as best you can and hopefully the second won’t even come into play.
The first, is preventing this from happening. Although all of the details have not been published, clearly the person responsible was tweeting from a corporate account and a personal account at the same time. Whether on a multi-account software platform or just by having two accounts open you are increasing your risk of mistake. This raises an issue which can be addressed through internal systems and policies. For example not allowing employees responsible for your social media to toggle back and forth on the same device for work and personal accounts. Make it harder for them to go back and forth and you reduce your chances of needing this next lesson.
How do you deal with it when it happens. Take a lesson from KitchenAid: swiftly and directly. From the time the errant tweet went out until KitchenAid had a management response online was roughly twenty minutes. The brand manager stepped up explained what happened, apologized and told the world that the person responsible was no longer involved in the company’s social media efforts.
While no organization wants to go through this, KitchenAid handled this as well as could be done. They owned it, apologized for what happened, explained the source of the problem and put a senior executive on point to send the message out. The whole issue from start to finish was 2.5 hours. The net result is that KitchenAid turned what has been a catastrophic situation for others into a textbook response for other corporations that might find themselves in a similar situation.
As a postscript KitchenAid added 1,700 during the time of this incident which is 20x the number of followers they add on an average day.