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Planning for Social Media Mishaps
By: Janet Kalandranis
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It’s happened time and time again; a human error mishap that tarnishes a brand and can become a PR nightmare. However, with a world that now uses technology more than pen and paper, these mishaps can become far more detrimental to a brand than the things that were seen 10 years ago. Unfortunately, brands are seeing this happen more consistently with little plan of action for how to react.

In the past week there have been multiple brand “mishaps” in the social media world. The idea that those individuals that manage a social media plan for a brand are human has come into play. These employees create a social presence for the brand and are responsible for making it fun and personable, yet relevant and effective for the brand. However, with as much power as these teams have, there’s also a large chance that human error can come into play. Many times, this is accepted and expected by customers; even enjoyed, as it shows a human side to the brand. But what happens when this human error goes too far and the brand has done something it can never take back?

StubHub is a brand all about entertainment and access — consumers buy and sell tickets and the mood was very much positive. That is, of course, until a social-media employee at StubHub made a mistake and took the brand down with a tweet. The employee thought the post was coming from a personal account, but of course was on StubHub’s corporate Twitter handle. Oh, and the message, not so positive: it included inappropriate language and the employee stating the need to get out of work and away from the brand for the weekend. Of course StubHub removed the post immediately and apologized for the mishap, but unfortunately a social media second is a lifetime. Hello retweets.

The lesson here is around process and crisis plans. Many brands have those general crisis plans laid out, but this is something much different. Will a simple statement do? Will the public accept human error? The most important lesson is to make sure that these types of scenarios aren’t being thought of as they occur. Instead, brands need to plan for what can happen in today’s high-tech world. And yes, process is just as important. Could StubHub have devised a plan to alleviate or at least decrease the possibility of such a mistake happening? If so, the brand might still be talking about next Sunday’s football game instead of apologizing for a big brand mistake.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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