A safer way to build and protect your brand.
Mr Darcy once said, “My good opinion, once lost, is lost forever”. This sentiment is not just to be confined to fine literature, unfortunately, this still rings true in modern society; perhaps even more so with global communication technologies being vast and instant. A bad reputation or a slur on your good name can do untold damage to an individual – but what about the damage to your brand?
In recent months there have been some high profile social media faux pas, while these may provide a quick sensationalist flurry of excitement for the innocent bystander, such mistakes can make or break reputations, careers, marriages, business allegiances and ultimately your livelihood.
Phil Neville was recently appointed the England Women’s Football Team Head Coach. Unfortunately, his new post was quickly overshadowed by the re-emergence of some historic and cringe-worthy tweets joking about domestic violence and stereotypical inaccuracies regarding gender roles. As tweets from 2012 went viral within hours of his appointment, Neville deleted his private twitter account. It is hard to escape from such gems as; “Morning men couple of hours of cricket B4 work sets me up for the day” swiftly followed by, “when I said morning men I thought the women would of [sic] been busy preparing breakfast/ getting kids ready/ making the beds- sorry morning women”. As if this wasn’t distasteful enough, Neville was further embarrassed by two other tweets being revisited to cause a stir, “U women of [sic] always wanted equality until it comes to paying the bills #hypocrites” and, “Relax I’m back chilled- just battered the wife!!! Feel better now!” This was allegedly referring to a game of table tennis, but these tweets are the last thing to promote a feeling of trust and honour with their new coach among the finest women footballers in England.
Henry Bolton, the UKIP leader, was left in a sticky spot after his girlfriend, Jo Marney made a hideous messaging mistake when putting forward her views about Meghan Markle to a friend. Admittedly, these were disclosed by the ‘friend’ rather than via social media, but the point remains the same- if you don’t want anyone to be able to tweet about it, don’t write it down- some opinions are best not aired. I’m not promoting widespread censorship, but we all have a responsibility to not spread hatred and venom.
Here is a little compilation of some of my favourite social media ‘moments’ of the rich or famous.
Paris Hilton was arrested in Las Vegas in 2010 for possession of cocaine. The substance was discovered in a Chanel handbag that Hilton vehemently denied belonged to her, if only she had remembered that she tweeted a picture of herself holding the handbag that very morning, accompanied with the words, “Love my new Chanel purse I got today!” Yes Paris, you’re so busted.
2011 saw the hilariously named ‘Weinergate’. Anthony Weiner tweeted a picture of his, erm, ‘reproductive organ’ to all his twitter followers- he had intended to simply send it to a young woman in Seattle. Initially, Weiner tried to get himself out of trouble by saying his twitter account had been hacked but eventually admitted he had tweeted it in error- he had no choice but to resign.
Charlie Sheen once tweeted his personal phone number to his entire twitter following, he was obviously inundated with calls and had to change his phone number- he claims he only intended to send it to Justin Beiber, this is one example of where I wish I knew the back story.
2010- Mary J Blige excitedly tweeted that she was going to study at Harvard-pretty exciting stuff. Her bubble was burst when Harvard replied to her tweet by pointing out that she was only actually at the stage of having her application considered. This action caused a huge fan backlash against Harvard University, Blige hit back by tweeting, “Why is that people always try to understand estimate my intelligents? They should never do that!” No Mary, no they shouldn’t…
It is not just celebrities and high-profile executives that make mistakes on social media, even some of the top global brands have fallen foul of appropriate social media campaigns.
Dove (thankfully) put a premature end to one social media campaign that showed a black woman removing her brown top to transform into a white woman in a light-coloured top.The brand was condemned for the overtly racist overtones during this campaign and had to apologise for how very wrong they got this- The Nivea brand also got their fingers burned with a similar campaign on Facebook that stated, “white is purity”. How could Unilever and Beiersdorf Global AG get things so wrong, and how on earth did these campaigns even get off the drawing board in the first marketing meeting?
Wendy’s fast food chain tweeted a Pepe the frog meme- innocuous at first glance, until people remembered the character had been co opted by the White Supremacist movement in the 2016 election. Wendy’s responded by taking the tweet down almost immediately, however, as viewers of the tweet had had the foresight to take a screen shot, the unwise decision to post it is preserved for eternity.
So what is the moral of the story?
Most importantly, double check everything, no, triple check everything- ‘if in doubt, leave it out’ would be an appropriate mantra here.
Ensure your security is as robust as you can manage- opt for verifying your social media accounts, use 2 factor authentications, train employees to understand the impact of anything they may post and never use a post it note in the office with your log in details on- you never know just how hilarious your work colleagues may think they are.
Try to avoid politics- Unless you are an elected politician of course. Politics is a dangerous area, if you appear insensitive you will be condemned for it.
If you make a mistake, the best course is to just come clean and learn from it. Try to make amends and never get complacent about public forgiveness. People have long memories and retweets and screen shots have even longer ones.
To err is human; to forgive, divine.
(Alexander Pope. 1688–1744. An Essay on Criticism)
The best way to steer clear of the minefield of social media etiquette and expectations is to hire a professional to promote your brand on your behalf. By hiring a content curator and social media manager you can confidently put your trust in a professional who has the experience and industry awareness of the best way to handle your account.
If you think your company’s social media profiles could benefit from some expert advice and management, please do get in touch with us. Let us take you forward.