How to Avoid a Burger King Moment

Did you hear? Burger King’s Twitter account was hacked, and yes, to answer your next question inappropriate tweets were sent out. The online community reacted quickly – with humor, fear (a social media manager’s nightmare!), and even indignation.

Burger King’s unfortunate Twitter incident lead to many unexpected posts on their feed.

Last week a friend of mine had her identity stolen online- someone created a fake Twitter account with her picture, her name and even her blog site and tweeted some pretty controversial things. It wasn’t until she started getting hate mail that she even realized something was wrong.

This sort of thing is more and more likely to happen.

So how can you avoid online humiliation?

Sure, you can take that post-it with your passwords on it and hide it in a safe like Fort Knox, but better yet, be prepared. Plan to be hacked. No, that doesn’t sound like a plan does it, but put a plan in place to handle with the crisis if (and let’s hope it doesn’t!) happen.

Put someone in charge. The worse thing that can happen is that you are so focused on what is happening that you forget to have a strong reaction. Select a decision maker who will be in charge of keeping everyone else focused on the public reaction instead of staring gap-jawed at the screen.

Assemble your team. The best companies take a crisis and turn it into an opportunity. Assemble a creative team that can help you do that. Maybe you need to attack the crisis with humor, humbleness and a bit of levity or maybe it needs a serious counter attack. Have a team in place that can craft the right message and right response- and quickly.

Plan and execute. Work like a navy-seal team. Put a plan together and execute it. The next time you have a social media flop, take it as an opportunity to practice your “crisis” plan. Even if you write posts and messages that never see the light of day, it’s a good exercise for what could be the real thing.

The key to avoiding a Burger King moment where for lack of a better phrase, you get caught with your pants down is to be flexible, adaptable and ready to go at a moments notice. Be ready with a message and a plan of attack, but don’t be afraid to change that mid-stream. Remember that social media isn’t a war against the world, it’s building a community. Your social media crisis response should have a flair of personality and a sense of being “in this together” with your community.

Why am I calling this a Burger King moment? Because they were unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight yesterday, a place that every company wants to be, and if I were part of their marketing team, I would have a contest, memes and even ads in place this week to capitalize on the moment. Keep the story going, keep the spotlight on you.