Red Cross Twitter Error: How to handle social media hiccups

We all know that social media, used in the right way and in the right hands, can be a wonderful thing but every now and then, as in other walks of life, mistakes can be made. We’ve all heard of incidents where people have made an inappropriate remark on their Twitter or Facebook accounts.. That’s bad enough if it’s your personal account, but what if you tweet something by mistake on your work account instead.

That’s exactly what happened when a social media specialist for the American Red Cross, Gloria Huang, sent out the following tweet on the organization’s Twitter feed by mistake.

The message had been intended for her personal account but after appearing on the American Red Cross Twitter feed for around an hour, it was taken down by Wendy Harman, the social director for the organization, following calls she received in the middle of the night. Huang posted a later tweet on her own personal Twitter account to say that the blooper was due to her lack of ability when using Hootsuite, according to Todd Wasserman over on Mashable.

This could have gone on to cause a PR crisis, however we reckon that the Red Cross handled this situation in exactly the correct way, by not making too much of it and tweeting it’s own amiable explanation making light of the error, saying, “We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.” Another plus point to come out of the slip-up has come from Dogfish Head, makers of the beer in the original tweet, which has gone on to urge people to donate to the Red Cross.

Samuel Axon over on Tecca also reports on this and notes that the Dogfish Head drive lead to donations of both money and blood from Twitter users and that there are even bars offering a free beer to those who can show they have donated. Rather amusingly the Red Cross has responded to this on its blog by cautioning people not to drink alcohol straight after giving blood.

This whole story is a useful example of how your organization or company can make the best of a social media mistake, if it’s handled in the correct way, although of course the original rogue tweet was nothing too serious. What are your thoughts on the way the Red Cross handled this situation? Have you ever tweeted something you shouldn’t have? Let us know with your comments.