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Social Media Property Management: How to Avoid an American Red Cross or Chrysler Twitter Snafu

Jordan Deatherage

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In the past few months, several social media faux pas have come to light involving major companies. Both the American Red Cross and Chrysler experienced "mistweets" that resulted in surprise, confusion, crisis communications and even the termination of an employee.

At Intouch, we know the unpredictability of social media may keep many of our clients awake at night. This document outlines what we do to make your social media profiles safe and provides recommendations for best practices.

American Red Cross and Chrysler both recently experienced some very public "mistweets."

Client and Personal Separation

In the cases of the Red Cross and Chrysler, both mistweets occurred due to Twitter profile mismanagement. Profile managers were using the same profile management tool for their personal account and the brand account. There could be a number of reasons for the mistweet, but it was likely profile mismanagement, for example if the manager accidentally selected the client account instead of their personal account when pushing the tweet.

Mistweets cause problems in two ways:

1. It lives forever. One can’t just delete an accidental tweet. Tweets are instantly published on aggregation platforms such as TweetDeck and Hootsuite and can’t be pulled back. These platforms collect outbound tweets, and deleting an offensive tweet from the originating profile does not affect these profiles. Although content can be deleted from the account’s profile page, the content has often already spread via retweets of the profile’s followers. The same is true for Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms, especially if unique URLs are used, since all content is archived. Once it’s out there, it’s out there. 2.It’s not approved language. Secondly, and just as important in pharma, the accidental tweet has not been approved via legal/regulatory/medical review, yet is live on a corporate property. Depending on the content and context of the tweet, this can be especially dangerous in a regulated industry.

Avoiding the Mistweet

Intouch Solutions has managed a number of social media profiles on behalf of our clients. We currently leverage a number of methods to avoid mistweets and mistakes on other networks such as Facebook:

1. Separation of Clients. To avoid mistweets, Intouch maintains separate usernames and passwords for each client, so a practitioner will never run multiple clients from the same platform simultaneously. In order to post to a different profile, the practitioner must log out of one profile, and then log in using new credentials for another client or personal use.

2. Separation of Platforms. Similarly, Intouch often uses different Twitter platforms to manage different clients to reduce the likelihood of mistaken tweets and avoid confusion. For example, Client A’s Twitter account will be run using HootSuite, while Client B’s account utilizes TweetDeck. Both programs are best-in-class platforms and provide similar interaction and metrics.

3. Facebook Safety Nets. We also recommend establishing "hanging" Facebook accounts, which are created under a profile manager’s name (either client or Intouch) to act as administrator on a brand page. These bare-bones profiles protect a brand’s Facebook page content with unique logins and an absolute separation of personal and corporate material. This applies across all social media outlets, including YouTube.

4. Facebook Wall Moderation. Finally, for clients with Fan Pages, Intouch offers an application called PharmaWall, which allows back-end approval and publishing of content to a moderated Wall. This ensures communications from the Fan Page is from the page itself, rather than a user’s personal account. See for more information on PharmaWall on our website.

Employee Policies

Depending on who manages your business’ social media profiles, all companies should consider having a corporate social media policy. This document addresses appropriate social media behavior for company employees, and often outlines an important disclaimer clause, alleviating the company from taking responsibility for its employees’ online opinions. This clause often reads: "The opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of my employer." Likewise, this document outlines when employees can and cannot speak on behalf of their employer in social media and whether they should identify themselves as an employee in certain circumstances.

Intouch has two internal social media policies in place. The first, similar to the one above, is in place for the employees and includes a company social media disclaimer. The second policy is in place for our clients, asking Intouch employees to refrain from commenting on clients in the social media space. We believe this protects the integrity of our clients’ brands and social media platforms, and allows true conversations between fans and brands to take place. For example, while Intouch employees may Like a client’s Facebook page, they will not comment on the page to preserve authentic conversations.

Crisis and Response Plans

Many would agree the Red Cross handled their Twitter snafu more gracefully than Chrysler. One of the possible reasons is that the Red Cross had a crisis plan in place, which involved talking to key influencers, apologies and action plans. They also handled the snafu with humility and humor in their response:

In addition to a crisis plan, monitoring and response plans should be in place to gauge how quickly a potential crisis is spreading and the appropriate messaging to mitigate it.

As part of our social listening and community management services, Intouch can monitor for client brands, including company and key client names, so crises of any nature can be addressed in a timely fashion. We work with clients to establish a crisis workflow well in advance to ensure actions and roles and responsibilities are clearly outlined.

Why Careful Profile Management is Critical in Pharma

As an agency specializing in health care, we, at Intouch, take our social media practice for clients very seriously. We understand FDA regulations and the dangers an unapproved or mistaken tweet can have on our clients and their business. Intouch takes every precaution to minimize risks of mistaken postings or distribution of unapproved content. To address these concerns, proactive internal safety measures are in place to ensure there is a clear separation of clients, platforms and designated team members assigned to social media engagement.

Social media is a constantly evolving environment where personal interactions can easily bleed into professional conversations. However, having the appropriate measures in place can help alleviate any crisis. Intouch can provide counsel and recommendations as your company prepares for social media engagement.


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