KitchenAid – Bad Tweets Happen to Good Brands Who Don’t Manage Social Media Risk Properly

Social Media Risk TwitterWoke up this morning to an inbox filled with questions about the KitchenAid tweet gone bad.

It’s funny how many minimize the power of Twitter. How many times have we heard “it’s just a tweet.” Or “what can really be said in 140 characters?”

Well, ask KitchenAid this morning what impact 140 characters can have on your day and your brand. KitchenAid isn’t the first to deal with such an issue.

My question is when will brands wake up and realize they need to take the 140 character communication medium serious? A simple audit can help identify these issues.

What happened with KitchenAid? 

1. An inappropriate tweet was sent from the @KitchenAidUSA twitter account during the Presidential Debate.  

The tweet was obviously meant to be sent from a personal account.

kitchenaid Obama tweet



2. A tweet was quickly sent from the same @KitchenAidUSA account taking full responsibility for the tweet and apologizing.

kitchenaid obama tweet apology

3. A follow-up tweet was sent directly to President Obama apologizing.

kitchenaid obama apology


4. Cynthia Soledad, head of the KitchenAid brand immediately took responsibility and positioned herself as primary contact for all media. She was quick in responding and being proactive in making herself available to represent the brand, the issue and PR crisis one 140 character tweet has caused. 

kitchenaid obama tweet responsibility


kitchenaid Obama media response availability


 What KitchenAid Did Right

  • Immediately took responsibility.
  • Responsibility was taken at a brand, organizational, team and personal level.
  • Apologized to their general Twitter following and Twitter community at large.
  • Apologized directly to President Obama.
  • Made themselves personally available to discuss with the media.
  • In regard to managing the PR crisis, KitchenAid seems to be doing all the right things. Only time will tell how they step up to the plate, take responsibility and make the necessary changes.


Bad Things Happen to Good Brands

There are many lessons to be learned from this and many other incidents that have gone bad with global brands.

How many of these case studies do we need before brands big and small take social media, Twitter and their communication on such platforms seriously?

It is time brand and business leaders take social media serious. It is not a game. Social media is real. What is said via a 140 character Tweet goes straight to blog posts, Facebook, TV, radio, newspaper and viral word of mouth. One late night tweet from a team member can have devasting impact to a brand.


How could this have been prevented? 

social business social media auditThe first thing we do with any client who wants us to help them integrate social into their business is an audit of their entire social media program. We look at everything from processes, procedures, security, who, what when and how they are sending tweets, posting updates to Facebook, photos to Pinterest and the list goes on.

My guess is one quick look at their social media team setup we could have identified the risk. A few of our first questions would have uncovered the following:

  • What and how is content being managed and shared with their global brand Twitter following?
  • Who has authority to send content?
  • Who has authority to send content via mobile device?
  • Is the account used to send Twitter content shared with a personal account (such as via HootSuite where you can mix both personal and business accounts from multiple brands.)
  • Does the team tweeting have appropriate morals that there is high or low risk in such a tweet being sent? What does their own personal Twitter stream look like?
  • What processes are in place to approve and review content before being sent?
  • Who has authority to send content with or without approval?
  • What and how is a PR crisis managed?
  • What and how is a Twitter account access removed from an employee, team member or partner who is removed from the account after an incident such as this? What risks exist with Twitter and other accounts authorized on team member mobile phones, iPads or desktop computers?

We have reached out to KitchenAid and invited them to join us on #GetRealChat Twitter chat to talk about this situation. We hope they will be open in sharing their experience for brands large and small. We are all learning in this space and are much better working together than we are bashing one another. I think we can all learn from mistakes such as this.

No More Excuses!

social media audit and analytisBottom line, bad things can happen to good brands and good people. However, that is NO excuse. The risks and problems can be mitigated with a bit of extra planning.

If you do not have a social media policy in place, have not looked at your processes and procedures, don’t know who has access to your Twitter, Facebook and other accounts, you better find out and fast!

Do your own audit. Hire someone to help you do an audit. Uncover the risk. You can’t mitigate risk that you don’t acknowledge or know exists, period.

Brands, step up, take social media serious and proactively manage your future. Nobody else is going to do it for you.

Need help? Call us at 813.643.3202. If not us, call somebody who can help!

What you say?

What are your thoughts? Do you see risks at the company you work for or have worked for?


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About the Author

Pam Moore

*Forbes Top 10 Social Media Women, Forbes top 50 Social Media Power Influencer - CEO / founder of Marketing Nutz, full service social brand, digital marketing agency. Social media marketing speaker, author, strategist, consultant, coach, & trainer. I help businesses of all size integrate social media into the DNA of their business, connect with target audiences to nurture authentic customer relationships. 15+ years experience working with Fortune 500, Franchised corporations with 4000+ local franchises to entrepreneurs and startups!

  • Lynn Abate-Johnson

    saved this one to my reading list, even after i read the entire post once. thanks, Pam Moore @PamMktgNut, for the spot-on insights! nice work.

  • akonthego

    @PamMktgNut So, so sad this person made such a tragic mistake. Oh my.

  • PamMktgNut

    @LideratisSAC thanks so much Wayne! :)

  • lmerricks

    @shelleydeluca I think you’ve tweeted more today than you have since you joined!

  • Claudia343mx

    @PamMktgNut hello! I really want to read your post but your site dont let me, Its keep sending me to the end of the post and cant go up :(

    • PamMktgNut

      @Claudia343mx Yes, it’s a @LiveFyre issue. It won’t let you scroll up? Wait for page to load and it should then scroll up.

      • Livefyre

        @pammktgnut @Claudia343mx We’re checking it out now, thanks for letting us know

    • PamMktgNut

      @Claudia343mx Sorry site is getting hammered today w/traffic combined w/ @LiveFyre load to bottom doesn’t help. Let me know if it wks pls :(

      • Livefyre

        @pammktgnut @Claudia343mx Hi Pam, this is not a Livefyre issue – the bottom load is caused by the # at the end of your post url

        • PamMktgNut

          @Livefyre @Claudia343mx that is strange as I have an email from your tech fr awhile back where they said it was a livefyre issue?

        • PamMktgNut

          @Livefyre @Claudia343mx The # is from the Infusionsoft form. How is it the issue? Even on pages that don’t have the form it does same thing.

        • Claudia343mx

          @PamMktgNut @Livefyre Pam, I´m reading it now! Its working! Its working! :D Thank you

  • PamMktgNut

    @Brett thanks Brett!!

  • PamMktgNut

    @LauraLeeWalker thanks Laura!

  • PamMktgNut

    @hillstwitts @keewood thx for the RT luvs!

  • PamMktgNut

    @efficient @socialmouths thank you both!!

  • PamMktgNut

    @socialmouths thanks buddy! How ya be?? :-)

    • socialmouths

      @pammktgnut Really good Pam, thanks for asking. How’s everything on your end? How’s business?

  • PamMktgNut

    @LoriMoreno thank you Lori!!

  • PamMktgNut

    @SteveCassady thanks Stevie wonder!

  • TheNerdyNurse

    My heart ached for @Kitchenaid when I saw the tweet. It was obviously meant for a personal account. But really a good example of needing to have a greater attention to who has access to your brands social media accounts.

  • medavep

    Good e.g of how to handle a crisis of your making on Twitter by US brand Kitchen Aid via @JusticeMitchell

  • PamMktgNut

    @JusticeMitchell thanks Justice!! :-)

    • JusticeMitchell

      @PamMktgNut – always :)))

  • juengova

    #FF @GiaSkinCare

    • GiaSkinCare

      @juengova and a #FF & Hello to you Julio!

      • juengova

        #HappyFriday sweet @GiaSkinCare

  • HitHard9

    @GiaSkinCare Make sure today you live fearlessly w/o doubt and hesitation to be successful at everything you put your hands to!

    • GiaSkinCare

      @HitHard9 Thank you so much for your positive tweet! I appreciate it :)
      Best wishes for a wonderful weekend!

      • HitHard9

        @GiaSkinCare appreciate you young lady and please keep up the amazing work! Xoxo

  • phillipsalicia

    @robfontano thanks for the RT

    • RobFontano

      @phillipsalicia Great article, One Social Media manager looking for work. Maybe Hustler mag. is looking

      • phillipsalicia

        @robfontano think he’ll overcome that blemish on the resume anytime soon?

  • Barnes_Phil

    @kmullett Our team was just talking about this story over lunch. “Measure twice, cut once” should be “Confirm account twice, post once”

    • kmullett

      @Barnes_Phil hey, I can honestly say I have done it. Mistakes happen, it’s what we do after…

  • Emma Larkins

    Some people like to post inappropriate things on their personal social media accounts, I get that. But if you’re a professional social media, ALL of your accounts should be kept to a certain level of decency. We’re all busy – slip ups can happen. Keeping a professional, respectful tone on all of your accounts will ensure that, if you post incorrectly, the fallout will be minimal.

  • milesstayposi

    @YouTernMark good read! I ( a former @youtern -er myslef ) did a write up as well: RT? @PamMktgNut

  • ucdavisexeced

    @susanavello @PamMktgNut Thanks for sharing this- I’d read about the incident and enjoyed your take on the situation!

    • PamMktgNut

      @ucdavisexeced @susanavello thank you both for sharing!

      • ucdavisexeced

        @PamMktgNut @susanavello You got it, Pam. How was your weekend?

  • brianrking

    @bryankramer @PamMktgNut Definitely a model of damage control with integrity.

    • bryankramer

      Yes! @brianrking @pammktgnut that was a brilliant post my friend!

      • brianrking

        @bryankramer @PamMktgNut : )

      • PamMktgNut

        @bryankramer thanks so much Bryan! Happy Friday!! :-)

    • bryankramer

      @brianrking happy Friday, any plans for the weekend?

      • brianrking

        @bryankramer Indeed. Cheering my brother in law on in a 5k then getting together with my sister’s family. Keeping relationships strong : )

        • bryankramer

          @brianrking family first, love it! I’m in Palm Springs now, then home for my bday tomorrow, golf Sunday… Life is good

        • brianrking

          @bryankramer Family is the inspiration for all I do. Happy Birthday my friend & keep living life fully. Through you others will see the way.

        • bryankramer

          @brianrking I’m living the dream! Cheers brotha :)

        • brianrking

          @bryankramer : )

        • Pruneridgegolf

          @bryankramer Happy belated Birthday! Pay us a visit next time! #Golf

        • bryankramer

          @Pruneridgegolf thank you, it’ll be like coming home, used to play there quite often when I lived there!

        • Pruneridgegolf

          @bryankramer Great! Enjoy your weekend Bryan.

      • brianrking

        @bryankramer Your plans?

  • thebarblogger

    @PamMktgNut Not sure I agree. The brand is still good. One slip up doesn’t need to define a brand. They owned the error.

    • PamMktgNut

      @thebarblogger you don’t agree with what part of post?

    • PamMktgNut

      @thebarblogger did you read the article? My points were.. good brand, didn’t manage the risk or it wouldn’t have happened & owned it.

      • thebarblogger

        @PamMktgNut I did read the article. The incident was regrettable but the knee jerk reactions lambasting the brand generally were a bit OTT

        • PamMktgNut

          @thebarblogger agree. That’s why I didn’t blast them. Presented facts only & even reached out 2 brand to help. Others can learn fr situation

        • PamMktgNut

          @thebarblogger but what part of post did you disagree with as per your tweet? Still not clear, sorry.

        • thebarblogger

          @PamMktgNut I took your intro to mean that significant damage had been done. No big deal. Just an opinion.

        • PamMktgNut

          @thebarblogger Got it. Never wrote or spoke such. However, can’t deny damage was done. Depth & duration tbd based on how they handle fwd.

  • PamMktgNut

    @tamicann Thanks Tami! Howz your wknd?

  • MarketngTidbits

    @xcelbusiness – thank you for the RT!

    • xcelbusiness

      @MarketngTidbits You’re welcome, interesting read

      • MarketngTidbits

        @xcelbusiness – glad you enjoyed it!

  • lauren_wood55

    @jkcallas thanks for the link! @coryOConnor

  • MZazeela

    Pam – First and foremost we need to remember that behind the brand and behind the tweet is a person. And, as people, sometimes it can be difficult not to get all caught up in the heat of the moment, especially during a contentious election season.
    I am not making excuses, but understanding the situation. “OMG, how could a brand do that!??!!”
    What I think is important, in light of the Chick Fil A and Kitchen Aid issues, is that companies and brands would be wise to keep their identities out of the political arena. Regardless how right you may be, you are going to alienate a fairly large group by taking any kind of a stand. If you feel you are willing to endure the public firestorm and subsequent loss of customers, then have at it. If you value the integrity and longevity of  your brand, do what your mother taught you.
    “If you have nothing  nice to say, say nothing.”
    Moms everywhere

  • PamMktgNut

    @SteveCassady Thanks Stevie Wonder! How are you? #getrealchat

    • SteveCassady

      @PamMktgNut Doing well. Likely on a @TwitJailWarden path tonight.

  • MeeoMiia

    @PamMktgNut what did they tweet? #GetRealChat

  • MeeoMiia

    @PamMktgNut I’m speechless. #GetRealChat

  • 3xperts

    @SteveCassady Thanks Steve! #getrealchat

  • MeeoMiia

    @PamMktgNut I missed #KitchenAid response. Glad to hear they owned it and resolved it quickly. Good #SoMe business #GetRealChat

    • PegFitzpatrick

      @MeeoMiia @PamMktgNut Kitchen Aid did a great job responding and this helped I thought. #GetRealChat

      • MeeoMiia

        @PegFitzpatrick @pammktgnut Well, that is very encouraging & powerful learning tool for other businesses that may also slip up #GetRealChat

  • smcpros

    @PamMktgNut Before sending any message, anticipate the response, and arm yourself with a good reply. #GetRealChat

  • PamMktgNut

    @D_Blundell thanks David!

    • D_Blundell

      @PamMktgNut – Pleasure – I always enjoy the quality of your content, Pam . . .

  • PamMktgNut

    @michaelguar thanks Michael! Too bet you aren’t closer. I bet my son would love to spend a day at your office! ;) #rocker

  • PamMktgNut

    @amniocentesisball Nope never been told that. Most people love the name. Who are you? Since your profile is obviously fake we’ll be deleting your comment. Happy to have real discussion with you if you want to show your identity. All we have is your fake name & IP addy in Chicago?

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