During the 2012 Presidential debate, a KitchenAid employee made one of the worst possible mistakes in terms of social media management — a nightmare for most companies in 2021. While a former employee was sitting at home watching the debate, they erroneously posted the following offensive Tweet from the official KitchenAid account:
KitchenAid was quick to respond with a personal apology to Barack Obama and announced swiftly that the employee will not be tweeting for the company anymore. I think KitchenAid made the right decision to immediately let the employee go for this crucial mistake. The tweet was extremely insensitive, classless and in very poor taste.
It’s difficult in a situation such as this to find permanent solutions because these kinds of issues are unfortunately not completely preventable. Many companies allow employees direct access to company accounts with nearly unlimited trust and freedom. However, a company should absolutely hold its employees accountable in a situation such as this due to negligent behavior and lack of responsibility. When working for a certain brand or company, you become a representative of that company. When in possession of a company asset such as a Twitter account, it is your responsibility to be aware and diligent.
Although this happened nearly nine years ago, it still teaches organizations a very valuable lesson within social media to this day. Due to the constant, rapid growth of social media, these types of situations occur fairly often. While there is likely not a universal solution to this issue, organizations could change their company policy on social media account usage when out of office. If employees were asked to log out of all social media accounts when done with each shift, it could potentially help to prevent future mistakes as big as this one.