Are Personal Twitter Accounts Fair Game for Choosing a Social Media Manager?

About four years ago, KitchenAid found itself navigating a marketer’s worst nightmare.

In case you haven’t heard, the @KitchenAidUSA Twitter account posted this tweet during the 2012 presidential debate:

 ”Obamas gma even knew it was going to b bad! ‘She died 3 days b4 he became president.”

It was the tweet heard around the world, and suddenly a brand synonymous with baking sweet treats was swept up in the middle of a devastating political faux pas.choosing social media agency

To make matters worse, the debate happened to be the most tweeted event in Twitter history, meaning countless eyeballs were glued to the #nbcpolitics Twitter feed when the rogue tweet went live.

With a single tweet, some of KitchenAid’s followers went from loyal customers to boycotters. Some threatened to never buy a KitchenAid product again, while others claimed to have already trashed their once beloved mixers.

KitchenAid’s Cynthia Soledad quickly spearheaded the damage control effort. She removed the tweet, apologized, took responsibility and reached out to multiple news agencies to take control of the story. In short, she did everything right.

But imagine if this tweet accidentally came from your small business’s Twitter account. While you could take the same damage control efforts, you’d learn a hard lesson about what your brand says online: You can’t take it back.

But can you prevent it?

Soledad said the offending tweeter meant to send this from his or her personal account. An unfortunate case of flying fingers led to the mistake, and it begs the question:

Should marketing directors be looking at a candidate’s personal Twitter account before handing over the brand’s Twitter keys?

Assuming this was not the first and only time the offender tweeted something in this vein, KitchenAid possibly could have prevented this PR mess by screening its social media team’s personal accounts. But should marketing directors be looking at personal accounts?

On the one hand, this country was founded on the right to freedom of speech. We are entitled to say what we want about who we want, for the most part, so long as it isn’t libelous or obscene.

On the other hand, when a person is going to act as the online face for your brand, you should have complete faith in their online reputation. Your brand’s online presence is too valuable to risk with an accidental tweet or embarrassing picture meant for an online account.

To me, personal Twitter accounts are fair game. If I’m going to give you control over my brand’s social media accounts, I think it’s fair that I check your experience by checking out what you’ve accomplished in these channels. Just as I’d be hesitant to let someone without a Twitter account represent my brand, I’d rather not hand over the keys to someone who uses Twitter to share inappropriate pictures or make offensive statements.

Why? Because if they’re tweeting about these things, it tells me one thing: We don’t share the same values when it comes to our online reputations.

But I want to hear what you think.

Do you check personal Twitter accounts before making a hire for your social media team? Or do you think your team’s personal life (and tweets) should stay personal?

Let’s get a discussion going. If you could click below to share this on Twitter, I’d very much appreciate it.

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