Several weeks back, troubled British entertainment giant HMV was brought to its knees by a rogue social media intern who live-tweeted the company’s latest downsizing efforts. (“We’re tweeting live from HR where we’re all being fired,” one of the tweets claimed. “Exciting!!”)
Later, fast food giant Burger King was still recovering from the “horsemeat” controversy that had kept them in the headlines for weeks when their brand suffered another blow: a hacked Twitter account. Hours passed before the account, which was now singing rival McDonalds’ praises, was finally brought back under control.
The offending tweets have since been deleted, but you can’t keep a secret from the Internet. Gone unaddressed, a few hours are all it takes to deal serious, lasting damage to a brand’s reputation, 140 characters at a time.
Obviously, it takes time for business culture to adapt to change, but there’s no good reason for established businesses, some of which have spent decades growing and fortifying their brand, to still make headlines for their Twitter trip-ups so late in the game.
In short, what happened to HMV and Burger King doesn’t have to happen to you. With a little effort, any company can take measures to stop Twitter fiascos before they heat up.