How to Avoid a Twitter Catastrophe

Twitter catastrophe

We just learned a lesson in Community Management from American Airlines.  Now, coming fresh off of a merger with American Airlines, U.S. Airways teaches us a new lesson: how to avoid a Twitter catastrophe.

U.S. Airways unfortunately could not avoid their NSFW mistake.  To recap, the brand accidentally tweeted a pornographic photo to a customer in response to her complaint.  Brands on Twitter, especially airlines, are used to sending out plenty of customer service tweets every day.  But when you accidentally link a lewd photo instead of your customer feedback page, it becomes apparent that there may be an issue in your Community Management process.

This is every Community Manager’s nightmare, and rightfully so.  Anyone can make an honest mistake.  According to U.S. Airways, the photo was sent to the brand’s Twitter account from another user, and mistakenly picked up through their internal software in their response to someone else.

So how can brands avoid similar mistakes in the future?

Re-evaluate your response process.

It becomes way too easy to fall into a repetitive process, especially if you are responding at the same rate as someone at U.S. Airlines.  Big brands have multiple employees responding to customer comments and complaints at all hours. Everyone needs to be on the same page when it comes to using software, how to respond to customers, and how to check work.

Internal communication is crucial.

The NSFW tweet was up for an hour, giving it plenty of time to get passed around the internet.  I’m not saying that another team member would have noticed the tweet way before the rest of the internet but teams that communicate well have members who are collectively alert to everything happening.  Make sure all of your teams are up-to-speed and check each others’ work.

Update your passwords.

We already know that the U.S. Airways tweet was an honest mistake but this is a reminder for the heck of it.  After a team member leaves, make sure to change all passwords and remove any admin rights.  You never know who can gain access to your brand’s information at any given time, so it’s crucial to update all of your passwords regularly.

Overall, we’re glad that no one was punished for something that appeared to be an honest error at U.S. Airways.  However, it is always important to stay alert and learn from these instances.  What other precautions would you take to avoid a Twitter catastrophe?