Five Steps to Avoid a Social Media PR Disaster

Five Steps to Avoid a Social Media PR Disaster

Much was made of KitchenAid’s recent social media catastrophe and how Cynthia Soledad, senior director of KitchenAid brand, handled the issue. Mashable provides a summary of the situation.

There are also examples of nonprofit organizations that have encountered similar issues. The American Red Cross had a similar issue when someone tweeted from their Twitter account,  “Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer….when we drink we do it right #gettngslizzerd”. Needless to say, the American Red Cross was not trying to promote Dogfish Head’s beer.

Here are some simple steps you can take to avoid a PR catastrophe:

1. Evaluate and limit your administrators

When was the last time you looked at who was had administrator privileges on Facebook? Limit these admin roles to just your top staff or volunteers that are using Facebook regularly.

If you’re unsure of who is listed as an administrator on your Facebook account use these steps:

  • Log into Facebook with an account that has Admin access and visit your organization’s Facebook page
  • You should see an Admin Panel along the top of your screen. Click the drop down button on “Edit Page” and select “Admin Roles”
  • If you want to remove someone as an Admin – click the X to the right of his or her name. Then click the save button at the bottom of the screen.
  • You will be prompted to enter your password. Enter your password and click confirm.

2. Separation of professional and personal accounts

Mobile devices and social media tools like HootSuite and Sprout Social are great tools to help you manage your campaigns. A mobile device is often the best way to shared photos or engaging conversation at an event or conference.

It’s important to set a policy in place to avoid users having their personal social accounts linked with their professional accounts, especially when using apps on mobile devices. While sharing personal and professional accounts on a device is convenient for the user, it is important to remember that the majority of posting from the wrong account issues come from individuals who are posting from mobile devices.

3. Create a policy and communicate it to your team

Even small nonprofit organizations should build a “Social Media Policy and Procedure” document and share it with staff and volunteers. A transparent policy is important to ensuring that staff and volunteer don’t break the rules – and if they do, they know the consequences. If your nonprofit organization needs help building a policy/procedure, we encourage you to visit this site to create your own.

4. Change your password – regularly

When was the last time you changed your login password for your social media accounts. If you use a communication tool like HootSuite or Sprout Social – previous administrators or volunteers might still have access to the account.

Set a monthly calendar notice to change your passwords. Build it into a monthly social media-planning meeting and determine a password together. It’s important to ensure it’s a secure password. Lifehacker provides a great overview of how to choose a secure password.

5.  Always have a Plan B

Many lauded KitchenAid’s Cynthia Soledad for how quickly she handled their social media transgression. Similarly, the American Red Cross handled their error swiftly and with a sense of humor. If you’re ultimately in charge of your organization’s social media write out a plan of how you would handle a social media disaster. Don’t try to just delete the post and ignore the issue. Nothing is ever truly deleted in digital communication. It’s important to be transparent and upfront. Your volunteers and constituents will respect you for that.

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