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Thursday, March 3, 2011

5 Lessons from the Rogue Red Cross Tweet

Earlier this month, an amazing phenomenon occurred. A representative of a well-known and respected organization mistakenly sent out a personal tweet promoting a craft brewery from the organization’s Twitter account…and it turned out to benefit all parties! Hard to believe in a time when companies are implementing strict web policies for employees and stories of personal postings resulting in termination are cropping up each week. But a positive outcome is exactly what happened when Gloria Huang, a social media representative for the Red Cross, accidentally made a post to the organization’s Twitter account about finding a pack of Dogfish Head beer and including the hashtag “#gettngslizzerd.” 

The tweet was intended for Huang’s personal twitter account, but tech accidents happen…more frequently when managing multiple Twitter accounts on a mobile device. Another Red Cross rep caught the tweet and replaced it with a humorous update. The next day, social media savvy Dogfish Head tweeted about the mix-up and encouraged Red Cross donations on behalf of the incident. Word spread and the Red Cross saw an increase in donations from Dogfish Head fans. Both parties got a lot of positive attention and even ended up with a post on Mashable. In a quest to discover why this scenario turned out so well, I came up with 5 lessons businesses and organizations can garner from this whole story:

1. A little humor goes a long way. Sure, lots of credit is due to Dogfish Head for jumping in with their support. But even if they hadn’t, the quick and humorous response from the Red Cross was the perfect recipe for a successful recovery. The subsequent support was just icing on the cake.

2. Collaborations are powerful. Especially collaborations between two brands with loyal followings. And the more strange the pairing, the better. People like to see unexpected connections between things they like, particularly if they seem to have nothing to do with each other.

3. Employees really are the face of a company. Even if they are not in the office or on duty, every employee has the potential to be a walking billboard for a business. This can provide excellent promotion, especially when social media is involved. So keep your employees happy…you need them on your side!

4. Leave room for happy accidents. Don’t be so cautions and afraid of your online presence and posts that there is no room for opportunities outside the plan to happen. Being completely professional, always carrying a corporate tone, and scrutinizing every possible piece of information before it posts might be safe, but it holds you back too.

5. People love the human aspect of business. The public likes to know they are interacting with real people, not just a corporate robot. Aside from providing personalized attention, nothing earns trust and loyal customers more than being personal, authentic, and sometimes even vulnerable.

What do you guys think about how this mistake turned out? Do you have any other lessons we can get out of it?

Let us know what you think and come connect to us on Twitter and Facebook.

About the Author: Jandee Ferland is the Social Network Engineer at IC. She is an avid fan of any technology that makes life a little easier and can often be found checking out new apps, posting on Twitter (@ICtweet), or learning how to podcast.

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