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When Disaster Strikes: 3 Twitter Strategies Learned From Big Tweet Mistakes

Have you ever been watching the local news… wait, people don’t do that anymore. Have you ever been reading the newspaper… nope, never mind. The point is, people are consuming news online now more than ever before, and you’ve probably encountered a story that started with, “Did you hear about what happened on Twitter?”

Today, as businesses try to co-opt the Twitter platform to better expand their brand, company, and image, it’s imperative to understand the steps you should be taking to get the best results.  We’ll be exploring some strategies in an upcoming Likeable Local + Social Media Today webinar: 7 Strategies to Maximize Twitter For Your Business!

If you’re managing Twitter for business, it’s also super important to remember that behind all Twitter accounts, there are people. People, who when following smart strategies and best practices on Twitter can help their brands rise. And people who can make mistakes. Which is how you end up with this:

Reading that, it seems innocuous enough. Unless, that is, you know what the #WhyIStayed campaign was all about. #WhyIStayed was about creating a platform for people to bring awareness to the complexities surrounding the circumstances of domestic violence and abusive relationships by sharing their own experiences. The person at DiGiorno who composed that tweet did not know why #WhyIStayed was trending on Twitter, they simply got on board with the trend. And in a few deft keystrokes, a controversy was born. The lesson to be learned: Use hashtags, but research and use the right ones!

Getting in on a hashtag, shows that DiGiorno was listening to conversations, and engaging in conversations, two important strategies Twitter business tactics. Also, using hashtags effectively is important for Twitter marketing because it makes your tweets easy to search. In this case, it was an effective strategy, but poor execution. Research before you #!

Another super important Twitter business strategy is responsiveness. DiGiorno, to their credit, quickly realized their mistake (and what an enormous one it was) and sent out this apology and retraction:

If this was the only case like this ever on Twitter, then there wouldn’t be much point in sharing that story, other than as an amusing anecdote. But, of course, it is not. Here’s another one:

Way to undermine an entire democratic social movement. Here’s another:

It’s enough to make any smart PR person run for the hills. If there’s a risk involved with having employees tweet on behalf of the company, is it even worth trying to get creative?

Actually, that last example can bring an answer to that question. Here’s what the Red Cross did:

Charming, and effective. The Red Cross followed a good Twitter strategy by quickly responding to their error and (essentially) apologizing. The lesson to be learned: If you make a Twitter mistake, apologize quickly, publicly, and sincerely!

That should have been the end of it for the Red Cross, an embarrassing situation, but handled with aplomb. But then, another brand stepped in:

Thanks to Dogfish Head, a craft beer brand, suddenly #gettingslizzerd started really trending, and for the right reasons. #gettingslizzerd became a rallying cry to donate money to the American Red Cross. People started donating and the Red Cross had a one of their best weeks ever. The lesson learned: Always be listening on Twitter!

The point is, for businesses and brands of all kinds, Twitter can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool. #gettingslizzerd was one example of a bad situation turning good. However, there are also many examples of businesses who create a great Twitter campaign without the preceding mess the Red Cross dealt with.

Spending time on Twitter and cultivating a strong presence and a strong following can be definitely worth your time for your business. It can also help your brand’s image in times of crisis. Part of the reason DiGiorno was able to weather that storm with #WhyIStayed is because of all the brand goodwill and reputation they had built using Twitter previously (regardless of what you think of their pizza).

How do you build a strong business presence on Twitter then? The short answer is through work, attention, and careful cultivation of your business’ Twitter account. The longer answer is that you probably shouldn’t tackle Twitter on your own. Luckily, there are resources out there to help you maximize your business’ Twitter effectiveness.

Having an active social media presence does take some effort but there are great tools out there to help with your social media marketing efforts. Social media tools are designed to help you keep on top of your social media strategy, and to help you save time, time that you can now devote to other aspects of your business. Some great tools to check out are Likeable Hub, TweetDeck, and Social Quant. These tools can help you schedule posts, track your engagement, listen to your customers, and cultivate great content.

To learn about more helpful social media tools and proven Twitter success strategies (7 to be exact), join our webinar on June 25th, 2015 at 12 PM to learn the 7 Strategies To Maximize Twitter For Your Business with Likeable Local CEO, New York Times Bestselling Author, Top LinkedIn Influencer, and social media expert Dave Kerpen. Just follow this link to sign up for the webinar and make sure you're armed with all the knowledge you need to avoid disaster!

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