Averaging 65 million tweets per day, information flies by quickly on Twitter. Until you make that dreaded blunder of a tweet gone wrong. We’ve all done it in a moment of being in a rush, frustration or even intoxication.

Because there is no easy way to edit offending tweets, the only choice is to delete it. With the new Twitter, however, your followers will see your tweet the very moment you tweet it. So think before you tweet and avoid potential embarrassment for yourself and your company.

As a real life example, last week our Social Media Manager and Director of Retention & Conversion saw a heated tweet posted on our SupportVR feed. Instead of chalking it up to user frustration, they took it seriously and as a chance to get feedback from a customer that was obviously experiencing some challenges. Our Director called the company directly and asked to speak to their social media manager. She was put through and asked the manager  who had authored the tweet. The manager replied, “I did.” My director was pretty shocked given this was the person in charge of the social media for this company and they were tweeting this kind of stuff. Not a great reflection of her company. My director proceeded to calmly discuss the issues the manager was having and let her vent her frustration. After apologizing and wrapping up the call, my director looked at TweetDeck again and noticed a follow up tweet from the same manager thanking us for the quick response and saying how much she loved us.

This simple example illustrates how being accountable on Twitter and using positive and negative tweets to get feedback from your customers can be a win-win. And, the next morning, we noticed the manager had deleted the negative tweet. Perhaps when she had time to think and felt twitter regret?

To avoid potential embarrasment from ill-authored tweets I recommend you have some simple social media ground rules for your team:

  • Appoint a single point of contact to manage your twitter accounts – this will enable you to have a cohesive voice on Twitter and accountability. This person should have experience in PR, Customer Service and Marketing so they have a well-rounded ability to represent your brand. If other employees are tweeting on behalf of your company, ensure they know what you tolerate and don’t tolerate. For instance, we do not say negative things about our competitors.
  • Monitor your reputation online. If you don’t monitor what you say and what is being said, things can turn ugly fast (my team prefers to use TweetDeck or Hootsuite & Google Alerts).
  • If something regretful is tweeted by your company, act swiftly and apologize to the affected party. Rule of thumb: If you take accountability for your actions and are transparent, your followers will appreciate it.

So the next time you go to send a tweet, remember your audience is not just your Twitter followers but, the almost 2 billion users of the Internet. That should give you good cause to think before you tweet.

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