Readtime: 5 min approx
Auth: Jon Fernandez

Brand leaders, here’s how to avoid Chukking away your brand’s reputation on social

Change UK – The Independent Group (TIG), the new political party founded by Chuka Umunna, Heidi Allen and co, state their message loud and clear across their social media channels: “Politics is broken, we need to change it.”

In light of their recent Twitter handle hash, it appears they really should stick to changing politics as opposed to carelessly tinkering on social media.

Shortly after changing the party’s name, TIG changed their Twitter handle, only to lose control of their previous handle to hijackers. The old account started tweeting pro-Brexit messages, fake quotes attributed to some of their leaders and messages from the manifestos of other political parties.

The media are making the most of it too. Because for TIG, this mistake is just one in a series of social media and marketing slip-ups that have severely damaged their brand’s reputation.

Why it's time to take social seriously


How bad does it have to get for organisations to start taking social seriously?

This kind of thing doesn’t just happen in politics.

We saw something similar last year when JD Wetherspoon abandoned their social media channels, only to have their Twitter account taken over by bitter ex-JD Wetherspoon employees. Another embarrassing mistake. Another tarnished brand.

And even as I write this, brands are making mistakes. Just a few days ago, US baseball team, the San Diego Padres, changed their Twitter handle from @Padres to @Madres to celebrate Mother’s Day in the US, only to temporarily lose control of their Twitter account.

Thankfully, the person who seized the @Padres account was an eagle-eyed fan who’d noticed and looked after the account before handing it back.

But for everyone else, relying on your fans to watch your back isn’t a practical solution, no matter how loyal your customers are.

Why it's time to take social seriously

3 things organisations can learn from these mistakes

These organisations all have things in common with the world leading businesses we work with at Carve. They’re in the public eye and could come under intense scrutiny at any moment.

Here are 3 things I think brands should start thinking about to both protect their reputation and have a greater impact on social:

1. Purpose

In many cases, organisations have a tactical mindset about social. But they need to adopt a strategic one. They need a real purpose.

Sure, you might have a social media strategy document stored in a folder somewhere. But does it answer the important questions: “Why are we doing social?”, “How are we measuring its success?”, “What are we learning from our audiences?”, “How do we take what we know and use it to create value?”

I know from experience: organisations that ask themselves these big questions are less likely to make big mistakes.

2. Processes

‘Process’ isn’t a sexy word. But for me, engaging with the people that truly matter to your organisation requires robust processes.

Start by thinking about governance and systems for sign-offs. But also, think about your social media process as a whole, considering how you’re measuring the impact you’re having and what you’re doing with the things you learn from the people you interact with.

3. People

On so many occasions, I’ve seen social media accounts handed over to interns to look after with little or no oversight. Then, a few days later, I’ve watched senior leaders in the same organisations send press releases back and forth 15 times attempting to get it right!

We know there are 3.5bn social media users globally, which means when something goes wrong, it can snowball into a big problem very quickly.

This means your organisation should treat social media with real seriousness. Can you get your senior leadership team involved – getting them to think about protecting value as well as creating it? Can you resource your team based on the huge impact social is having on your business?


If you’re about to change your Twitter handle…

I hope I haven’t scared you off from doing so.

But with these recent warning signs, now really is a good time make sure your brand’s reputation is in check on social, making sure you’re not about to Chuk it away like Chuka and the team at TIG.

And if you have any questions or need a hand, connect with me on here and send me a note. Carve help world-leading companies use social to build relationships with the people that matter to them most.