I submit as evidence the below (click the links for the full story on each):
1. KitchenAid tweeted this the night of the presidential debate this week:
2. Chrysler posted this last year, soon after the debut of their big "Detroit is Back" SuperBowl commercial:
3. Red Cross experienced a slightly less painful gaffe, and they handled it with humor and grace:
Scared yet? Yes, the tweets were mistakes, representing someone who thought they were tweeting as themselves and not as the brand. This is frighteningly easy to do. And sure, they could have deleted the tweets seconds after they were sent. But they were already out there. And there’s no taking them back.
When I think about this in the context of a pharma brand, it’s even scarier. We know the industry already has a poor reputation and is regularly a target for media and negativity. There are plenty of people that would relish the opportunity to blow a rogue pharma tweet out of the water.
What if someone tweeting on behalf of a pharma company made a similar mistake? Consider the possibility of a pharma company accidentally tweeting the below:
[Before anyone goes crazy … These are completely fake. I mocked them up to prove a point. Except the last one ... someone random actually did post that about oxy. Not a pharma. Anyway ...]
I don't need to explain further how shocking and damaging this could be. It can happen within the walls of the company itself. It can happen in the hands of an agency tweeting on their behalf. It doesn’t matter where it came from or how it happened.
Social media has the power to build relationships – and also destroy them.
My point is NOT that pharma should avoid tweeting. Tweetpharm is now actively tracking and ranking 60 active pharma Twitter accounts. And these are corporate accounts, not including handles for brands, disease categories, or campaigns. So far, so good!
My point is, if you are tweeting on behalf of a pharmaceutical or healthcare company, be sure to have confidence in the people that hold the keys to your account. It’s the equivalent to designating them as media spokespeople, but with even further reach.
They should be intimately familiar with the rules and regulations of pharmaceutical marketing. They should know your business and your brand. They must understand your customers and their needs.
And they should have the responsibility, professionalism and maturity to not be tweeting insulting messages anyway. Even on their own personal accounts. IMO, it’s a matter of character.