15 Oct 2012

Prevent Social Media Catastrophes

Secure your online profiles

KitchenAid’s grandma gaffe. Kenneth Cole’s Cairo catastrophe. Hollister’s model misadventure. Marc Jacobs’ “tyrant” trouble. As countless corporate victims of social media malpractice can attest, without effective security tools in place and the education to back them up, you’re playing Russian Roulette with your brand. And if reminiscing over these past Twitter meltdowns gets your heart racing, your company probably doesn’t have a proper social media security system in place.

HootSuite Security Slide LockSecure your Social Profiles


KitchenAid Cynthia Soledad Tweets@KitchenAid’s Tweets Following the Mistweet

Damage Control

Although the Twitter Help Center offersreassuring help for those who need to make a Twitter problem disappear, deleting a Tweet isn’t the issue. If you’ve witnessed any corporate disasters on Twitter, you know that the delete button does little damage control to save a company’s reputation after a careless or offensive Tweet has been sent out to countless followers.

By the time the destructive Tweet is discovered and deleted by a frantic public relations or marketing department, it has spread like wildfire across Twitter and onto other social networks, possibly catching media attention along the way.

Prevention is key but once it’s out, it’s out and social media managers need to immediately address the issue. Following KitchenAid’s mis-tweet, Cynthia Soledad, KitchenAid’s head of brand took the right steps in quickly taking responsibility for her social team, apologizing on their behalf and reaching out to media. Soledad contacted Adweek, Mashable and other outlets, offering to speak on the record. By reacting to a bad situation with authenticity and sensitivity, Soledad demonstrated that the best way to deal with a social media problem is through social media.

The American Red Cross found themselves in a similar situation last year, when an embarrassing tweet was picked up by the media. With some quick thinking and help from HootSuite, they managed to turn lemons into lemonade, raising money and collecting blood donations.

Security Tools

As KitchenAid demonstrated, companies need to put the safety on to prevent employees from pulling the trigger on ill-considered jokes and off-brand messages meant for personal accounts. Recognizing the necessity for such frontline safety, HootSuite provides a secure profiles function that prompts users to confirm posts before sending from an organization’s account.

HootSuite’s global permissions control gives administrators additional layers of security. If interns, contractors and external collaborators are members of your social teams, consider giving themlimited permissions and leave the final publishing power in executive hands. The key is to create a structured and secure workflow that supports your organization’s social media efforts.

If you’d like to learn more about HootSuite’s security features, read our Security HootGuide.

Educate Everyone

Kenneth Cole Disaster TweetThis corruptive Tweet could have been avoided

Ironically, Kenneth Cole’s offensive Tweet was not written by an intern, but by Kenneth himself. In hindsight, everyone (including the CEO) with access to your company’s secure social profiles should undergo an accreditation process to ensure that he or she understands the potential for risks and how to avoid them.

Likewise, ongoing social education programs must be in place to keep both employees and executives aware of all relevant legal compliance issues. Earlier this year, the CFO of clothing retailer Francesca’scarelessly hinted at undisclosed earnings numbers in a Tweet. He found himself out of a job, while other CFOs sought clarification of social media compliance policies. Lesson learned?

Your security and compliance policies should be completely aligned, because a weakness in one can undermine the other. With poor security, your company could suffer something even worse than a brand-damaging gaffe: a legal nightmare. And what good is security if management cannot maintain compliance standards? Is your organization compliant and secure?

Backed by solid procedures and used by educated employees, HootSuite helps keep your brand secure and engagement authentic.

Interested in learning more about social media compliance? Read our two-part interview with Social Compliance Strategist, Mike Langford

by Matt Foulger


When Will Branding Help?

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