Social media is the backbone of digital marketing. It has become the most integral part of marketing companies, products, even people groups. With many different social media platforms to chose from, companies have a wide range of content they can produce to reach a wide range of people. Of these platforms however, there is none more brutal and more honest than Twitter.
Twitter is a micro-blogging platform that allows users to post 140 character tweets. The content is up to the user, as long as it’s under or exactly 140 characters. The restriction creates some very interesting results, forcing users to be quite witty with their words. Memes especially start on Twitter, with users photoshopping photos with funny text and posting them with a short, extra caption. With a wide variety of users, there’s many chances to meet new customers. At the same time, companies have to be careful of how they interact with Twitter users and how they handle press, especially after creating a Twitter account.
Twitter is easy to market on if you can be witty and smart about what to post. But it can also provide very humbling experiences. Twitter’s community is notorious for mocking and destroying companies who make bad PR and marketing moves, particularly on Twitter. Because the site focuses on in the moment news, and things become viral very quickly, a bad marketing decision can make the news fast. If your company makes a bad move, by either newsjacking inappropriately, making a bad joke, using a hashtag incorrectly on Twitter, Twitter can quickly use the opportunity to bash and make fun of your company.
While most companies try to avoid these circumstances because of the bad rep they get, these can also be good marketing experiences. Yes, your company will be portrayed negatively, but within this is a second chance. A chance to show that you can own up to the mistake and come back from it. If you look at most of the companies that have made gaffs on Twitter, they’re still alive and kicking.
Even if you make a mistake on Twitter, it doesn’t mean the end of your company on social media. Again, most companies who end up making small mistakes on Twitter continue to exist on the platform. Mistakes are only detrimental if you respond badly to being called out. There’s many ways to come away from a social media mess up and remain okay. Get back up, laugh with everyone, admit the mistake, apologize when necessary, or (if it’s small enough) ignore it and move on. If you’re worried about the mark on your reputation, think about it from the customer’s viewpoint. They see it as you messing up and losing their trust. Admitting there was a mistake lets the customer know you as a company want to improve. You can ignore the mistake if it’s small, though. If it’s extremely inappropriate, then it should be addressed and apologized for.
While there are many ways companies can make right what they’ve done wrong, there are many more ways companies can further mess it up. Namely, refusing to admit a mistake was made or making a similar mistake later on. These can really make a company look bad because it looks like they don’t care. The customers see a company that messed up and lost their trust. And then flat out said nothing was wrong and perhaps made the same mistake later on that year. This brings down reputation far more than admitting the mistake and learning from it.
In the end, you have to be careful of how you handle marketing gaffs on Twitter. Mistakes aren’t super common on Twitter, but they can still happen. When they do, you have to weigh out how you’ll react. Will you decide to admit the mistake and apologize or laugh it off with the others? Or will you refuse to admit the mistake and risk making it again? The choice can decide your company’s reputation on Twitter. Choose wisely.