There is most certainly such a thing as bad publicity…

Posted on April 15, 2014


The quote “There is no such thing as bad publicity” is attributed to P.T. Barnum.  However, in the three-ring circus that social media can become, I beg to differ…

US Airways is just the latest large corporation to get hammered for sending out a hugely inappropriate Tweet.  (In this case, pornographic, but other companies have been caught for other reasons – Ad Age has a good recap here:

Here are three very basic steps to ensure your brand doesn’t get caught in a firestorm:

1.       Verify which account you’re sending from

Many corporate social media managers are constantly flipping back and forth between busineUS_Airways_767-200ss and personal Twitter accounts and technology makes this easy.  Always, always, always check the account before posting!  Think of how some of your personal tweets would look under your corporate logo…

2.       Get a second opinion

If you are in doubt, have another person read your Tweet.  Send to a colleague for a quick review.  Better yet, run it by your mother (can you imagine running US Airway’s tweet by your mother?)

3.       Slow down!

I used to work for an agency that had a saying “A Moment Matters” – it was about taking a few extra minutes to make sure everything was ship shape before sending to a client.  The same applies here.  Before hitting post – reread your Tweet.  Can it be misinterpreted? Are you trying to be too funny or cute?  As we edit Tweets to get to less than 140 characters, sometimes they change meaning from our original intention.  Reread (and recheck links and pictures)!  This is time well invested.

These steps most certainly have kept US Airways out of trouble yesterday.  Despite P.T. Barnum’s claims, I can’t imagine they are thinking that all this publicity is good for their corporate image!



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