US Airways: The Tweet Seen Around The World

By now, you’ve probably heard about the graphic tweet posted by US Airways in response to a customer service conversation with a disgruntled customer. If you haven’t, the tweet contained a very graphic image followed by “We welcome feedback, Elle. If your travel is complete, you can detail here for review and follow up.” They later posted a tweet apologizing for the inappropriate image and announced they were investigating its whereabouts. Their explanation behind the tweet was later revealed in a statement: “Our investigation has determined that the image was initially posted to our Twitter feed by another user. We captured the tweet to flag it as inappropriate. Unfortunately the image was inadvertently included in a response to a customer. We immediately realized the error and removed our tweet.”

Although the tweet was deleted almost an hour after posting, it went viral, receiving over 500 retweets while it was up. This tweet even surpassed news of the Pulitzer Prize by 63%! Now more than ever, brands need to protect their Twitter accounts to avoid a social media mistake such as this. With such a fast paced network, mistakes such as incorrect grammar, bad links and other minor errors are bound to happen. But, it doesn’t mean you can’t take precautionary measures to help to prevent them. Here are a few ways to protect your brand’s Twitter account.

  1. Proofread all tweets going out before sending/scheduling. Take a second to review what you’ve written. Had the social media manager in charge of US Airways Twitter account reviewed the tweet, they probably would’ve caught the photo and removed it.
  2. Think about the ways the tweet could be received. If any negative scenarios come to mind, try wording it differently or not posting at all.
  3. If you’re communicating with a disgruntled customer, always show compassion. Remember that they are reaching out to you to help better your service. The way you treat them will set the tone for how you will be perceived to not only the customer, but also the entire community you’ve built.
  4. If a mistake occurs, immediately correct it. If it’s a misspelt word, missing period, etc. reissue the tweet. Should it be something more serious, take it down and issue a statement of apology to your community.

Remember, social media is a fun way to directly communicate with your community. Keep these tips and your audience in mind for a successful Twitter page.

For more helpful info on social media crisis, check out this post