How The Red Cross defused a potential Social Media crisis situation

by Mack Collier

Coming off the heels of Kenneth Cole’s recent PR blunder on Twitter, the Red Cross found itself in a potential crisis situation on Twitter a couple of days ago.  Apparently, one of its employees that tweets from the @RedCross twitter account, inadvertently sent a tweet that was meant for her personal account in which she tweeted: “Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer… when we drink we do it right #gettngslizzerd”

To its credit, the Red Cross quickly acted on the ‘rogue tweet’, deleted it, and posted this response:

Now anyone that’s attempted to use multiple Twitter accounts, especially one for your employee or a client, knows how easily this can happen.  And then the employee that sent the ‘rogue tweet’ also acknowledged her mistake on her own Twitter account:

Now all week here we have been discussing the value that evangelists have for companies and organizations.  What happened next in this story perfectly illustrates today’s lesson: Your evangelists will come to your aid in a crisis situation.

The Red Cross’ evangelists on Twitter quickly latched onto the #gettngslizzerd hashtag, and used it to drive blood donations!  Many committed to donating blood and some even took pictures as they were:

And to their credit, @dogsfishbeer, which was mentioned in the ‘rogue’ tweet, also encouraged its followers to get involved in the donation drive:

One of the ways we talked about in the post on creating brand evangelists was speaking in a human voice.  The Red Cross did this, they quickly admitted their error, and apologized.  And did so with humility and a splash of humor.  Then Gloria tweeted out an explanation as well.  How the Red Cross handled this potential crisis situation went a long way in rallying its evangelists to come to its aid.  They quickly forgave Gloria for the tweet, then took the hashtag and used it to drive donations.

This is the power of connecting with your evangelists.  As we talked about earlier this week, they WANT to see you succeed.

What did you think of how the Red Cross handled this situation?  What did they get right? Is there any advice you could give them for avoiding a similar situation in the future?

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