Twitter is a powerful social media tool for building brands, but if misused can damage reputations. The following provides a recent example and steps businesses and individuals should take to prevent similar situations from happening, says, Â Ryan Palo, Real-Time Online Intelligence Analyst with Anexinet.Â
Social media is a powerful tool in a brandâs efforts to connect with people worldwide. Particularly Twitter. Unfortunately, Twitter may also be utilized to attack companies, groups, and people in an instant through viral tweets, offensive hashtags, or by resurfacing past controversial posts ranging from humiliating to insensitive to flat-out racist. This article takes a close look at some real-world examples of how past tweets can reemerge to damage reputations, and the steps folks can take to deal withâor preventâthese situations.
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Racist tweets from potential first overall pick, Josh Allen surfaced online, just hours before the 2018 NFL Draft. The tweets undoubtedly impacted his draft position and contract value negatively. Some estimated the cost of the fallout of the tweetsâ resurfacing was in the millions.
Despite personally going through his tweets a year before the NFL Draft (according to ESPN), and having his agency comb through old social media posts in April 2017, everyone somehow missed these offensive, racist tweets. “My agency went over any past social media,â Allen said, âand these didn’t come up after I did the search.” The tweets were finally removed, months after the social media audit. But by then, the damage had been done. Someone leaked screenshots of the offending tweets mere hours before the Draft, shifting the focus from his athletic abilities to whether or not he was actually a racist. Â
This is hardly an issue restricted to athletes. Companies in all industry verticals have partners, sponsors, brand ambassadors, and high-profile employees. The relationship is akin to that of a quarterback who serves as the face for an NFL franchise. This represents a significant new risk for companies who choose to associate their name, brand, and values with digitally-active individuals who may not always consider the larger impact of their words.
The irony is that all this could have been so easily preventedâthe tweetsâ resurfacing, the resultant reputation damage, and the negative publicity against the Bills for drafting Allen could have been avoided, simply by conducting their social media audit properly.
There are a few prevention and management steps companies must take when forming any kind of formal partnership. These steps, aided by a team of people with expertise in social media auditing and monitoring, will help to ensure awareness of any red flags, and avoid any negative publicity for existing partnerships.
Prevention and Management Steps
Too much research is never enough.
Much more can and should be done to flag injurious social media content. Though Josh Allen reviewed his social media, and even hired a consultant, when it comes to social media monitoring, itâs difficult to beat the expertise of an experienced partner. Properly researching an individualâs social media, including all the contextual discussions around them is one of the most important steps in the prevention and management process. Research should be performed on all posts for potential and current partners. A current partner could have damaging posts from before a relationship began that could resurface and it is important to know all there is to know about potential new partners. Such in-depth research helps determine if the partnership is worthwhile, or if existing partnerships need to be terminated to protect the companyâs reputation.
Continuous monitoring is a must throughout the entire length of a businessâ association with a partner. Simply deleting damaging posts revealed by the Social Media Audit isnât enough. Because even deleted posts could have been archived in numerous ways (such as screenshots or cached copies) and could reemerge, adding to the necessity for continuous monitoring.Â Social media never sleeps. Any errant post, like, or share could be used to spark controversy, ask Ted Cruz could no doubt attest.
Social-media crises management
Despite their most arduous efforts to avoid controversy, businesses and individuals alike are doomed to find themselves in hot water, or at the center of an online attack, as a result of irresponsible social media activity. This has been proven time and time again. But thanks to todayâs AI-driven Social Listening solutions, a potential disaster may be identified early on, and an action plan put into place, mitigating potential reputation risk. Close, continuous monitoring is a crucial tool for any Social Media Crisis Management Strategy, providing real-time alerts to inform and guide every step of the process.
As Josh Allen, the Buffalo Bills, and countless other public figures and companies have proven, offensive social media posts have a way of coming back to haunt their authors and employers, damaging the reputations of all involved parties if the proper steps arenât taken. However, with thorough research and continuous monitoring, brands can get ahead of, or properly manage, any looming social media crisis.