Think Before You Tweet

By February 4, 2019 Stories

With the Oscars just around the corner, we’ve been reflecting on the fall -out from the uncovering of Kevin Hart’s homophobic tweets from 2011. For those of you not in the know, comedian Kevin Hart was lined up to host the Oscars 2019, but dropped out due to the outrage these tweets caused when they surfaced last month.

Kevin Hart is not the only public persona to be haunted by past tweets, “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn lost his deal with Disney due to provocative tweets from 2009 and even President Donald Trump has had his Twitter musings thrown back at him, with a collection even being published in a tongue-in-cheek yet scathing book called “The Poetry of Donald Trump”.

When these types of posts are uncovered, it can leave PR teams and agencies scrambling for the best way to deal with the crisis. 

Although the celebrities mentioned above are individuals, they are high profile personas with a specific brand. It is worth thinking about your brand profile, but also the ambassadors of your brand; employees, suppliers, partners and any other stakeholders.

Every organisation should have a social media policy that is regularly updated and shared amongst relevant parties. This should include encouraging them to review historical posts on social media to ensure that they are in line with not only their own personal up-to-date values but also with your brand. It also goes without saying that a social media audit should be undertaken on any prospective new hire, new supplier or partner etc.

Proactive management of your brand’s and your brand representative’s social media can help avert a crisis in future. Historical tweets can be downloaded through the Twitter platform and information on how to do that can be found here. Once downloaded you can search keywords to delete selected tweets, or if in doubt you can delete all before a certain date. You can always use a specialist app to delete old Twitter data such as Tweet Delete and many others.

Going forward, you should be proactively monitoring your own social media presence and that of your brand ambassadors to ensure that posts are in line with your social media policy.

Worst case scenario is an all-out PR crisis in which old tweets by you or a brand representative have been unearthed and you are suffering from negative attention. Follow these steps to effectively manage the situation:

  1. Don’t panic – get all the information and collect the facts before responding in desperation.
  2. Do not try to lie; if someone has unearthed tweets from five-years ago they are likely to be able to figure out you are being untruthful.
  3. Issue an apologetic statement.
  4. Start thinking about moving forward with an extremely positivePR strategy.