Recently, US Air “accidentally” tweeted a pornographic photo in response to a consumer complaint. The offensive and very graphic tweet showed a woman placing a toy Boing 777 airplane into her private parts.
How did this happen? “It was an honest mistake,” Matt Miller, a spokesperson for US Airways, told Mashable. “It was done as part of the process to capture the tweet to flag it as inappropriate,” Miller said. “Unfortunately, the link to the image was inadvertently included in a response to a customer.”
According to US Airways’ twitter site, they have 423K followers and over 90.9K tweets. And, according to skift.com, US Air tweets some 412 tweets/per day with a response time of 38 minutes. That is a lot of tweets to compose with 140 characters to what appears to be most often consumer gripes. While it was an “honest mistake” it was a COLOSSAL one that gave everyone on Twitter much fodder and a PR headache for US Air.
US Airways is certainly not the first brand to make a social media blunder (think Kenneth Cole, Campbell’s and Home Depot). What is the best way to handle a social media “accident”? Like US Air did, it is best to very quickly address the issue head on with a very sincere apology and explanation.
Social media moves at warp speed. Let’s be careful out there.