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How to Practice Safe Tweeting

// March 10, 2011 // Public Relations, Social Media // Comments Off

So we’ve just heard of another Twitter “oops” from the actual human being behind the brand – yes, there is a person (or team) actually drafting and sending updates from brand accounts. Chrysler’s Twitter handle was supposedly “compromised” this week when a tweet went out dropping the F-bomb. Later, it was reported that the agency (or person) responsible for tweeting on behalf of the brand accidentally wrote a tweet meant to come from his/her personal account, but sent it from the brand they’re responsible for managing.

Before you think I’m scolding, let me just share – I, too, have accidentally tweeted from one account when meaning for it to come from another. Though I didn’t include any f-bombs or #gettingslizzerd in my tweets, it was enough to make me sweat for a few seconds, delete the tweet and move on… a little more cautiously. And so I offer the following advice when managing brand tweets:

Use tools to schedule tweets - Though I am all for the real-time updates, if you feel that content must be shared during off-hours, be smart and schedule the tweets using Hootsuite, SocialOomph or other platforms. It’s better to have followers respond to a brand’s tweet and receive a response 40 hours later than to run the risk of offending someone who spent years building the reputation of a brand. Trust me, your client will prefer the former.

Designate different apps when using mobile devices to live tweet - I’ve had the iPhone and I now own a Droid. On these, I’ve tried the Twitter app, TweetDeck and Seesmic. Though the perk of TweetDeck and Seesmic is to only need one application for your numerous handles, the risk of tweeting from the wrong account is very high. That’s why I’d recommend using a separate application for each account. It may seem redundant, but you should be taking the extra care and time to ensure that you’re careful with your tweets – it is your job on the line after all.

Encourage your client to be transparent - Followers aren’t ignorant enough to think that all of our messaging points in tweets are coming from a long approval process or that a robot is making the posts. If a brand is upfront with its followers off the bat and explains that there’s a team of people making updates, they will appreciate the fact that your brand is now a living, breathing being and most will be quick to forgive for human error. Red Cross took it a step further by joking (kindly) about the man behind the #slizzerd.”

Triple check before hitting “send” – I know, it shouldn’t have to be included in this list, but how else are major brands like Chrysler, Red Cross, Kenneth Cole and Charlie Sheen making negative social headlines. Well, I can’t actually save the last two examples, but you get the point. If you have to log out of Twitter.com to log back in and ensure you’re in the right account, or click the avatar in your desktop app a few extra times to bring the drop down menu of handle options, or check that you’re in the correct mobile Twitter application for the designated account – do it! It will save your job and your personal brand that I know you’re trying hard to build.

Tweet others the way you wish to be tweeted – This should go for your own personal account. If you’re writing tweets that could be offensive to the brand’s followers, what makes you think that you wouldn’t offend your own followers? We all have days where people drive like idiots, we want to get sloshed on the weekends or we can’t stop staring at the UPS delivery guy/cute intern, but before you hit “send,” do you really think your followers need to know? If you take the extra step to think about the tweet coming from you, it’ll save you from accidentally costing your client its hard-earned reputation.

Though I have my own thoughts on the right way a brand should handle this situation and the wrong way, what’s important to remember is to slow down, develop a system with tools to save yourself from these embarrassing and sometimes costly snafus, and most of all, pay attention before hitting the “send” button.

    author bio

    I'm an east coast native turned sunshine loving So Cal girl. My passions include good design, fine wines and emerging Indie rock bands. When I'm not working on refurbishing my 1950s home I'm playing with my son and enjoying my role as a new momma. You can follow me on Twitter @creativekelly.