Lessons Learned from a Grandmotherly Mistake

Grandma got ran over by a reindeer. That was the beginning and end of all acceptable dead grandma jokes.

Not if you ask KitchenAid, though — and more importantly the folks the appliance manufacturer employs to do its tweeting. Wednesday the company, which no one can deny makes one heck of a mixer, is twisting and churning in its own self-made, ultra-bitter-tasting lump of humble pie dough.

Here’s what went out to KitchenAid’s 24,340 Twitter followers Wednesday night during the presidential debate:

Ouch. Or, what happens when someone who manages multiple Twitter accounts doesn’t set the default to their personal one and tweets from the wrong handle.

The fallout was instant, and even though KitchenAid took the tweet down within minutes, the damage was done. To the company’s credit, it immediately owned up to the error and didn’t try any sleight of hand.

And on Twitter:

Everyone should be able to surmise that this was a mistake, and clearly not a reasonable opinion of any company interested in staying in business. Regardless, people went hog wild, threatening a Dixie Chicks-esque backlash on KitchenAid immediately and all day Wednesday, raiding its Facebook page and posting about throwing their products in the trash and never doing business with them again.

KitchenAid rebounded by tweeting directly to web news sources Mashable and Adweek in an attempt to tackle this head-on. A good move. But then KitchenAid slipped up again by tweeting the boss’ email address to the world before shifting and providing a different, much more general email address. 

As if everyone needed another example of the enormous clout social media has. This isn’t new, and snafus such as these should be fresh in our mind, especially after what happened to Chrysler on Twitter about a year ago.

This all boils down to being responsible. Think before you tweet. Be committed to social media and don’t leave it to untrained, irresponsible people to do your posts.

Regardless of what the outcome of this is, KitchenAid is certain to survive. After all, in 18 hours since the offensive tweet  the company gained 483 new Facebook fans. True, some of them may have “liked” the page just to complain. But the company also gained 2,122 new Twitter followers over the same period…

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