Let’s go over some basic rules of tweeting because some of us need a quick lesson.
- Rule number one: Think before you tweet.
- Rule number two: It’s not nice to tweet about someone’s dead relative.
- Rule number three: Triple check that the tweet is coming from your personal account, not your brand.
The presidential debate took Twitter by storm as no surprise. What was surprising was a tweet from KitchenAid, a popular brand providing all things—you guessed it, for the kitchen! It’s common for employees to sync their Twitter account between their personal account and the employer’s account. See where this is going?
An employee at KitchenAid committed a detrimental social media sin by sending a tweet from the wrong account, reaching nearly 25,000 followers. And it wasn’t just any old tweet. It was political and distasteful, no matter whose side you’re on. The sender wrote, “Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! ‘She died 3 days b4 he became president’. #nbcpolitics”
In my opinion, the tweet shouldn’t have been sent from any account—personal or corporate. Since when is it all right to make fun of someone’s deceased family member? The biggest problem with social media is that its users’ tend to be made of steel and the Golden Rule doesn’t apply. The tweet wasn’t appropriate for any platform regardless of political views or ill feelings. You just don’t do that.
KitchenAid should give Cynthia Soledad good pat on the back for her quick action to resolve the situation. Soledad was on damage control almost immediately following the mistake. She first identified herself as the head of the brand and then personally apologized for the inappropriate tweet and took full responsibility. Soledad tweeted directly at President Obama, Mashable, Adweek and several other media outlets asking to talk on the record about what happened.
In a series of tweets she said, “It was carelessly sent in error by a member of our Twitter team, who needless to say, won’t be tweeting for us anymore,” and “That said, I take full responsibility for my team. Thank you for hearing me out.”
At least the entire KitchenAid Twitter team didn’t need a crash course in What Not To Tweet 101. Soledad made PR professionals smile all across the country, I assume. She took immediate action by introducing herself and apologizing. Soledad didn’t make up an excuse for the tweet, but rather took full responsibility. She apologized directly to the president, and reached out to several media outlets to speak about the gaffe.
Three days after the incident Soledad introduced herself on Twitter again to reassure consumers that appropriate actions have been taken with the person who sent the tweet and apologized to the President, his family and KitchenAid’s customers.
This social media PR blunder will probably go down in history on the list of PR blunders for two reasons: How ridiculous the tweet was and how well it was handled.