It is important to realize that social media usage is something that demands skill and experience. The individuals in charge of it must be proficient in dealing with real time reactions. They should understand the ethos and philosophy of a company, which then need to be communicated to the target audience.
Unsavory remarks on Twitter mar a campaign
It’s not a bad idea to let them undergo some sort of orientation course and monitor what exactly they say on social media, take a quick corrective action, if necessary and do a damage control job to avoid any negative fallout.
To underline the importance of this process, the recent Aflac incident serves as a perfect case in point. It all started when comedian Gilbert Gottfried started to post around 10 jokes to (@RealGilbert), his personal Twitter feed, about the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan.
Incidentally, he supplies the popular voice for the Aflac commercials’ familiar squawking duck character. Japan is a major market for the company and accounts for roughly 75 percent of its revenue. What started the trouble was certain unsavory comment by Gilbert’ about the human tragedy and the natural crisis in Japan. In fact, his services were dismissed with immediate effect by the company.
The fallout of negative feedback
The official explanation given senior vice president & chief marketing officer, Michael Zuna was as follows: “His comments were lacking in humor; they certainly do not represent the feelings and thoughts of anyone at Aflac. His statement noted: “Aflac Japan -and, by extension, the country itself -is very much part of the Aflac family, and there’s no place for any thing but concern and compassion during these difficult times.”
The company did take an immediate action it needed to and avoid any further fallout. Aflac had already stopped running TV commercials using Mr. Gottfried’s voice by re-voicing them all temporarily simultaneously launching a search for a new voice. It apparently invoked a morals clause in his contract to dismiss him.
So the ‘unpalatable’ comments can no longer be seen on his Twitter account, though he did post a couple of comments there. In the first one, he stated: “I sincerely apologize to anyone offended by my attempt at humor regarding the *quake and tsunami) tragedy in Japan.” His second tweet read: “My thoughts are with the victims and their families.”
Intricacies of social media advertising
In considering the latest Aflac incidents, along with the one at Chrysler John Diefenbach, which we have already discussed in an earlier post, one can understand the intricacy and complexity of specialized tasks related to brand strategy and marketing on social media said.
Some experts recommend that marketers need to follow a strategy of what they term ‘controlled chaos’ in new media. Whatever strategy you follow, the crux of it is to monitor the correctness of your social media campaign.