Have you ever been on Facebook and got overly annoyed about a post that your mother-in-law wrote? Or maybe you saw o vulgar joke on Twitter that was posted by someone you (used to) admire. We’ve all seen something similar to these two examples somewhere in the field of social media outlets at some point.
This is exactly why many larger companies are being much more selective about the personalities they get to represent them in advertisement and other media. Even employees that are placed behind the control panel of the company’s social media presence are now being investigated with the utmost scrutiny.
And why not? If history has shown us anything, it’s that people sometimes let their mouths (and fingers) run away with them when they hit up Twitter or Facebook. Those that represent large successful companies are no exception.
Proof of this can be seen in two miserable cases from 2012. The first was when comedian and actor Gilbert Gottfried took to Twitter and started telling inappropriate jokes about the tsunami that hit Japan. While this is abhorrent enough activity for anyone, what makes matters worse is that Gottfried was the voice of Aflac at the time. His association with the company put them at risk of losing a large chunk of their client base, particularly in regards to Aflac Japan.
Needless to say, Mr. Gottfried was relieved of his duties as the obnoxious duck in their popular commercials.
A similar event occurred when an employee of the agency that handles Chrysler’s social media accounts made ill-advised comments on Twitter. The comment stated: “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to <expletive> drive.” The agency promptly released the employee and not long after that, Chrysler severed its ties with the agency. One can only guess at how much revenue that agency is now missing over such a ridiculous statement.
The lesson to learn here is that while social media can certainly be a great tol for your business, it can also harm you if you use it incorrectly. You may be able to delete a dumb comment that you wish you had have never penned, but on the internet, things have a way of never disappearing.