One of the best frozen pizzas, in my well-researched opinion, also has a stellar Twitter account. For the past year, @DiGiornoPizza had been killing it on the uber-popular social site. With hashtags like #DiGiorNOYOUDIDNT and #CheesyCelebrities, the company generated well-deserved social buzz for its quick responses and eccentric commentary on sports, current events and pizza.
However, on the evening of Sept. 8, frozen pepperoni hit the fan. Without checking the context of a trending hashtag, DiGiorno tweeted a 26-character PR nightmare: “#WhyIStayed You had pizza.”
The #WhyIStayed hashtag went viral after Ray Rice’s wife, Janay Rice, issued a statement on Instagram supporting her husband. #WhyIStayed become a call for other women to shed light on why victims of domestic violence may stay in abusive relationships.
As a community manager, that’s essentially my worst nightmare. You’re entrusted with a brand’s social voice and then your mistake is served, piping hot, to millions of tech-savvy consumers. In a race to keep up with its witty brand voice, DiGiorno messed up BIG.
Brands often strike gold capitalizing on timely events with clever hashtags, wit and charm. But the dangers are ever-present.
Across all social networks, timely conversations are rewarded. With the growing popularity of live tweeting, Twitter chats and algorithm changes that favor trending content, community managers will be expected to create and converse on the fly. What they say about what’s happening, as it’s happening, will matter most.
Yes, entertaining content drives engagement with brands – and it should. The best brands will use this to their advantage, but do your research. Don’t let a momentary mistake become more popular than the brand itself.
DiGiorno’s botched tweet should serve as a friendly reminder to us all that what we say on social is immortal. Construct your brand’s social identity with humor, humanity and honesty. The keys are in OUR hands as community managers. Brands entrust us to cut through social clutter and man the front lines of public relations. Be clever. Build relationships. Be remembered.
Don’t let your eagerness to resonate with your community cloud your intelligence.
Sam Laun (@_samuelbrian) is a community manager at sosh (@getsosh), a Milwaukee-based social media agency.