Each time there is a disaster or tragedy in our world, it seems yet another company is tagged to serve as our example of “what not to do” on our social channels. During the Boston tragedy, Epicurious stepped up as our tarnished example.
(Epicurious, wisely deleted these posts and offered an apology later–but they copied and pasted the same apology multiple times to different people, so there were definitely more than one person aboard this train that lacked judgement!)
I don't think they were intentionally trying to capitalize on a tragic situation. I think they simply had a social media manager on deck who was inexperienced and lacked basic life and business etiquette. A tweet went out offering those in Boston a healthy breakfast scone to deal with a tough day. A TOUGH DAY? If the Red Sox had lost a game, THAT would be a tough day and a breakfast bar would be a welcomed offering. If a snow storm socks the city in, THAT'S a tough day and a tweet about eating a healthy breakfast is a smart angle. When people are killed, you stuff that breakfast bar in your Twitter beak and sit quiet!
I heard people say the person who posted the now infamous tweets, lacked judgement. Some say the person was just plain stupid. But here's the question your organization has to ask, “What IS good judgement?” Against whose judgement do you measure your team members' judgement to know who has good judgement and who is sadly lacking in this department? If you're like me, the answer is simple…measure it against MY judgement!
Since that's not always going to work, you have to take the time to set policies, procedures and “what if” scenarios to TEACH your team how to respond in different situations. I have four children (now grown & all with impeccable judgement! HA!) and we played the “What do you do if…” game all the time. “What if a creepy man asks if you want to come inside the ice cream truck?” “What do you do if someone asks if you want to drink at a party?” “What do you do if a stranger wants to friend you on Facebook?” (Okay, so I just realized that I have done all of these things…well the ice cream truck driver wasn't that creepy, but that's besides the point!). We practiced what they would say, in the unlikely event that it would happen.
Is it time for you and your team to have the “What would you post” talk? After the talk, put your scenarios in writing and remind your team that if a new scenario pops up and they are unsure how to handle it…they are to stuff a breakfast bar in their Twitter beak until they hear otherwise!
Gina Schreck is the president of SocialKNX and you can always find her on Twitter @GinaSchreck