January 9, 2013 by dannybishopcreative
Kayser Lingerie are caught up in a social media storm today after tweeting the following…
Not exactly an “on brand” message, with the twittersphere blowing up with most respondents seeing the tweet as sexist or worse.
Kayser have followed the book reasonably well, if slowly, in dealing with a PR disaster. Firstly they deleted the tweet (which in and of itself is questionable), then talking to the media with an explanation, and finally apologising to their followers and the new raft of visitors who are finding the brand after the initial outrage spread across social media.
They’ve been painfully slow in doing so, but they got there in the end. There are a multitude of websites and books on dealing with PR nightmares. I remember learning some of the techniques during my university degree. The final step in any PR disaster is once the dust has settled to look at what went wrong so that it doesn’t happen again.
In the case of Kayser Lingerie, the thing that appears to have gone wrong is two-pronged; using an external agency to deliver social media updates and that agency giving an intern free range to post.
External Social Media provider
Why use an external social media provider to do your updates? There’s no good reason for this. There are great reasons to employ a digital agency for a vast array of your online requirements, but actual updates to your Facebook page or Twitter account has never proven to be a good idea.
The main reasons people follow brands on social media is to gain insight, build an affinity or have their support questions resolved. An external agency is never going to be able to provide content or responses that are better at fulfilling these needs than someone within the company itself. There are too many barriers that occur, too many links in the chain. You need someone at ground-zero to build a following, not someone who is tweeting about water pumps one minute and health insurance the next.
Using an intern
Using interns has been a very common practice in social media since probably around 2008. The reasoning is simple enough to understand; the space was not well understood by the existing management, no one within the organisation had the skill set, there’s no way management will approve budget for extra staff when they don’t understand it, interns are “free”, there’s always someone willing to do a bit of work for nothing in order to get experience.
Interns are a great addition to your team, but remember – the reason they don’t have a job yet is because they don’t have experience.
Social media is often the only day-to-day contact most people have with your brand, your sport or your club. The might read a letter from the CEO once a year, a press release from your media manager once month, visit your business once a fortnight… but they may be seeing your social media updates every day.
So why give the reigns of what is – based purely on the amount of interaction – your most important communication with the public to someone who has limited experience?
It’s something that’s always confused me. You wouldn’t get the intern to deliver your quarterly shareholder’s report. Why do some think that social media is so much less important, when arguably it’s even more so?
What’s even more interesting here is that Kayser have stated the posts came from an external company who we assume Kayser are paying pretty well for their efforts, but that that company is using an intern.
No doubt Kayser will be smart enough to deal with the fallout of this online. But I’d be more interested to be a fly on the wall when the discussion about social media next occurs. Will they get gun shy? Or will they realise that this is an opportunity to bring their efforts in-house and cut the interns and third-party social media updates adrift. If I were out there I’d do it tomorrow, it could rescue the brand quicker than anything else they’re capable of doing right now.