A Lesson from Chrysler: Tweet With “#&@&ing” Care

Mistakes. They happen. If they didn’t, humanity would be boring.

On social media, mistakes happen way too often. The ease of the medium has made it to where Tweets and Facebook updates can be sent to thousands of people in seconds without much effort and even less thought. When people are using the same devices to manage multiple accounts, the results are not always pleasant.

Chrysler learned that lesson the hard way yesterday when the Tweet above was posted by someone representing their account through their Social Media Marketing Firm, New Media Strategies. The employee has since been fired and Chrysler has apologized for the mistake.

In reality, it’s not that big of a deal. In fact, their following has grown faster than normal as a result of the story. Still, there are some key tips that companies should consider when handling their social media (or paying others to do it for them).

Avoiding Mistakes with Multiple Social Media Accounts

  • Hire with Care – NMS is a good company that has been in the game for a long time. Still, shame on Chrysler for being unaware of how their accounts were being handled (we can assume that since it was about driving that the account was being managed from a mobile device) and shame on NMS for not having guidelines prohibiting this (which we assume they will put in place immediately if it wasn’t in place already). This Tweet was sent “via Web” so it may have come from a computer, but if I were speculating I would say it was likely from a mobile device.
  • Clear History and Cookies Every Time – It’s a pain, but our company learned long ago that the only way to ensure that logins do not cross is to either clear history and cookies before and after every session or have a unique device for each account. We currently manage over 300 social media profiles for clients, so option 2 is out of the question.
  • Mix Wisely – Some, including one of our consultants Jeff Cryder, believe in a unified business/personal strategy. He is the brand and the brand is him, so there is no distinction with the messages. Whether he is operating under his “personal” account or the “business” accounts, he maintains a level of professionalism that transcends the labels. His personal account would never say anything that he wouldn’t say with his business accounts. When you treat social media like this, mistakes like the one above cannot happen. It’s not for everyone, but it works for many.
  • Vet Updates – One option we’re currently integrating into our social media platform is a vetting process. When multiple people have access to accounts, it can make the job easier for the person in charge. Vetting prevents mistakes and puts one person in charge of the message and accountable for the publicly-viewed content.

Again, mistakes happen. I personally do not believe that the person who made the mistake should have necessarily been fired unless there was a history of other mishaps or separate reasons behind it. All of it smells a little like a “save face” move, mostly for the firm handling the account. To Chrysler’s credit, they have handled it extremely well so far.

It may end up working out in their favor.

Update: Chrysler will not renew their contract with New Media Strategies. NMS will remain through the transition period to the next firm. We have some suggestions on who should handle Chrysler Social Media.

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