In case you missed it, yesterday, a tweet was sent out from the US Airways account to a customer and did not have a smooth landing. A customer was complaining about service and US Airways says they attempted to send her a link to go to a web page where customers can submit complaints. Instead, the link went to a NSFW image of a nude woman.
And it didn’t take long for word to spread on Twitter. The responses ranged from critical to humorous and everything in between.
US Airways explained that the image was posted to their stream, flagged as inappropriate, but accidentally was included in a tweet to a customer. They removed the tweet when they noticed the mistake and issued an apology.
This wasn’t a case of an employee going rogue; it was a mistake. While it never hurts to double check your post, social media mistakes are bound to happen. When they do, you need to fix it immediately, own up to the mistake, and respond appropriately.
Smart brands have crisis communication plans in place so that when mess ups happen, they can be dealt with quickly and effectively. US Airways has been particularly quiet on Twitter since they issued the one tweet apology. The apology was a necessary start, but that’s certainly not the end of the story.
When social media mistakes happen, it’s easy to think, “this wouldn’t have happened if employees had more social media restrictions at work.” But that’s not the solution. If you want your employees to be smart on social, you can start off by creating a social media policy and give them the training, content, and tools they need to be social savvy. You don’t have to provide strict rules, just give them guard rails so they understand what’s appropriate and what will have you trending on Twitter for the wrong reasons. So yes, social media is safe for work, and having employee advocates on social is great for improving brand awareness and reputation. Just give them the support they need and have a plan in place to deal with mistakes.
Download our sample social media policy to give your employees the social media guidelines they need.