Why does devising campaigns on social media demand care and caution?

What are the repercussions when a specific strategy or behavior pattern is deemed antisocial by a large section of social media users? Two large marketers have recently found how social media can prove to be a double edged sword if not handled carefully and tactfully. Here is what exactly happened…

Aflac and the Chrysler Group have been groping to answer that discomforting question after a couple of incidents, which occurred within a matter of few days. The incidents involve remarks on Twitter, perceived to be inappropriate, insensitive and tasteless.

The first incident began when a New Media Strategies (agency that was handling the Chrysler brand Twitter account aimed at consumers) employee happened to post a comment: I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to drive…” Between ‘to’ & ‘drive’ was a vulgarity.

The above comment was immediately deleted, and the employee was dismissed by the agency. The agency’s chief executive, Pete Snyder, mentioned in a company post that the company regretted the unfortunate incident. However, Chrysler decided not to renew its contract.

The renowned automaker based in Auburn Hills posted to its official blog a quick apology for the actions of agency’s employee. Chrysler says it doesn’t “tolerate inappropriate language or behavior.” A Chrysler spokesman, Ed Garsten, announced a new ad campaign for the brand on a corporate blog post, with the theme ‘Imported from Detroit’, adding: “The company is fully committed to promoting Detroit and its hardworking people. Inside Detroit, citizens are now becoming even more proud of their town – and outside the region, its perception is fast improving. With so much of goodwill built up over such a short time, we cannot afford to backslide and jeopardize this progress now.”

A word of caution for corporate advertisers

Though the controversial tweet was deleted with immediate effect, according to the Detroit Free Press, the original post got retweeted by several users on the popular networking platform, including user @tverma29, thus making it very difficult to erase completely from the Web.

Marketing experts point out that the world of media, marketing and advertising is going to witness more of this since people won’t always be turning off their personal lives and then think, `I am now crossing over to corporate brand communications. This is something that the advertisers clearly need to be mindful of while devising their campaigns on social media.

In this context, companies and agencies should desist their employees from posting unwarranted remarks to avoid lawsuits and customer’s ire. Seemingly innocuous but indiscreet social media comments can land you in trouble. So, you better watch out and be mindful of them to avoid any impending problems…