Don’t Just Keep Your Head Above Water, Take Tweeting Lessons
Social media is a powerful way for politicians to distribute information and also engage with constituents in real time. With that comes the risks of magnified and costly missteps.
After sporting his personal Twitter handle for less than 3 weeks, a Québec politician recently found himself in troubled waters.
François Legault tweeted that:
“girls attach less importance to salary than do boys”.
Loose Tweets Sink Ships
Reaction to the controversial tweet was swift and included qualifiers such as “dinosaur”, “sexist” and “clumsy politician”.
Guy A Lepage, talk show host, actor, comedian, and producer (with Oprah-like influence) jokingly tweeted that
“Monsieur Legault’s Twitter account has been hacked!!!! (in any case, that’s my hope for him)”.
In turn, Monsieur Legault fired back at his critics:
Beware of the Siren Song of Self-Justification
The resistance to apologizing does all sorts of bad things professionally. The longer issues are left unaddressed, the deeper the resentment and the harder it is to move forward.
Monsieur Legault didn’t back down to any of his critics and a review of his timeline shows a multitude of defensive clarifications. No apology or “Politwoops ” retraction for him.
The original version of Politwoops was developed by the Open State Foundation of The Netherlands to follow the country’s members of parliament and town council representatives. Several international versions of the site exist.
Prevent Tweet Storms
Simply introducing people to a new platform and then leaving them to their own devices is a recipe for disaster.
With the prospect of a provincial election on the horizon, Monsieur Legault and other Québec politicians, and their respective parties, should hone their social media skills … and possibly opt for some coaching to make the most of their foray in social media waters.
Every organization needs to have some way of monitoring social media either by humans or by automated tools so that they can be alerted to a crisis situation and be ready to respond. Keep an eye on social media and be prepared to respond if something needs immediate attention.
OOPS: More on social media blunders and how to recover from them
Social Media Incident in Wild Rose Country
In a recent too-close-to-call election campaign, Alberta’s Progressive Conservative (PC) party saw how quickly things can go off the social rails. A PC staffer took to her personal Twitter account in response to a promise from the Wildrose Party to introduce new programs and services aimed at young families.
From her personal Twitter account, Amanda Wilkie directed a tweet at Danielle Smith, leader of the Wildrose party:
“If @ElectDanielle likes young and growing families so much, why doesn’t she have children of her own?”
Danielle Smith had undergone several unsuccessful fertility treatments in an effort to have children. PC leader Alison Redford ended up apologizing to Smith. Within hours, Wilkie removed the tweet and deleted her account. She was promptly fired.
Beware of virtuous and destructive cycles. Don’t let social spiral out of control. Invest in social media coaching for you and your brand. Don’t just keep your head above water, take tweeting lessons.
Simply Providing Social Tools = Failure
- A “provide and pray” approach has about a 90% failure rate
- Radical benefits result from delivering social solutions
- A social media solution is the right tools targeted at a defined purpose
Source: “Taking a Strategic Approach to Social Media”, Gartner Research Webinar by Carol Rozwell and Nick Gall
United-States: An Election on Facebook: Old Media Enters New World via NPR [video, audio, transcript]
Do “likes” on Facebook translate to votes? Howard Kurtz and Lauren Ashburn of Daily-Download.com examine that issue with Ray Suarez and also explore why traditional news outlets are partnering with social media sites this election year.
Instant Friends – Just Add Water
Don’t be fooled by false friends … it has been suggested that the Romney campaign is buying followers to catch up to President Obama’s giant social footprint?
Social Media Smoke and Mirrors: Buying and Selling Fake Followers (Politicians Do It, Too) via @MarketingProfs includes [infographic]
The Dynamic Duo
@MichelleObama: Saturday, people all across the country will be registering voters and reaching out to their neighbors. Join in: http://t.co/w8Cyz5NS –mo
- OOPS: Best of Social Media Blunders
- Recovering from a Social Media Gaffe
- Blended Communications for Better Social Media Crisis Management
- Elton is Right: Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word
- Coping with Natural and Social Media Disasters
- TV Talk Show Host Caught in Double Whammy Twitter Gaffe
Cafélina uses Royalty free images.