With the extremely fast paced and high pressure social media world that we live in, it is so easy for individuals and even big companies to make an accidental, but like we’ve always been told, “Once you put it out there, it’s out there forever.”
KitchenAid is a perfect example of what NOT to do!
In 2012, when Obama was reelected as President, customers really got a sense for how KitchenAid felt about it.
Although the tweet was promptly deleted, it was still out there long enough for millions of people to respond, and even worse, screenshot the tweet. When I went to search for the image above on Google, all I had to type was “KitchenAid,” and rather than their different kitchen products coming up as primary suggestions, the first suggestion was, “KitchenAid Obama Tweet.”
This tweet was posted due to the fact that the particular employee, who is normally responsible for KitchenAid’s Twitter handle, accidentally tweeted this off of the company’s Twitter page, rather than their own personal page.
Personally, I still don’t see that as an excuse because when you are an employee of a company you are representing them 24/7. In some cases, your actions and words are direct representations of your employer and what they stand for as a company. Especially with the lack of grammar in this tweet, in my opinion, I think that an employee should maintain professionalism at all times, especially on their personal Twitter page due to the fact that nothing is truly private on social media no matter how secret you make your settings.
I believe that KitchenAid did handle this situation well. They immediately deleted the tweet and tweeted out their sincerest apologies, and were extremely sensitive to Obama and his family during that time. KitchenAid’s Senior Director of Marketing also immediately released a statement to various media outlets:
“During the debate tonight, a member of our Twitter team mistakenly posted an offensive tweet from the KitchenAid handle instead of a personal handle. The tasteless joke in no way represents our values at KitchenAid, and that person won’t be tweeting for us anymore … I am deeply sorry to President Obama, his family, and the Twitter community for this careless error.”
An easy and inexpensive way that I think companies can avoid the mix of personal and professional lives, especially when it can cause a blow up for the company, would be to provide your employees handling the company’s social media accounts with a company phone. It should be required that the company phone is solely for that particular employee’s work email, as well as any and all social media accounts that they are responsible for.
You’ll get em next time KitchenAid! Hopefully.