Why It’s Important to have Social Media Guidelines and Stick With Them

The message has been deleted, but the damage is done.


Social Media users are in an uproar about the Tweet posted in poor taste by Kenneth Cole yesterday. While this may not be the first time the designer has rubbed people the wrong way, this IS the first time it won’t be so easy to move on and forget about it.

Posted on the brand Twitter channel, “KC” inappropriately referenced the situation in Cairo to promote the new spring line. Even though he followed up with another Tweet aimed to ensure followers that he was not trying to “make light of a serious situation”, the damage was already done.

The offending Tweet was removed around 3:30 PM yesterday (approx. 4 hours from when it was published), but not before coverage of the Tweet and the negative ruckus it caused reached over 254 MILLION UMVs (and this is just the first page of Google results) and upwards of 27,000 Tweets. Online media coverage included the likes of Mashable, Forbes, Huffington Post, MSN, Aol News, Time, Ok Magazine, Yahoo! News, CNBC and Business Insider. While this uproar may have happened somewhat in a funnel (Kenneth Cole was not a trending topic nationally or globally, but rather is various hotspots around the world: Atlanta, Chicago, London, DC, San Fransisco and Business Insider reports an increase in  shares), it does seem that we’ve come to a new age of digital crises.

Digital Influence colleague, Kaitlyn Wilkins is calling this the era of “Digital Crisis 3.0”:

“2.0 was just the inclusion of social, or it’s ability to springboard something like this into mainstream media“ twitter trends, hashtags, blog posts. 3.0 is the fact that people have been empowered with the tools and platforms to quickly mock and riff and create new cycles of buzz.” (Check out satirical Twitter handle @KennethColePR)

Just think, all of this negative press (and potential loss of brand fans) could have been avoided if more thought and a bit of consideration had been put in to the 11 AM Tweet on Thursday, February 3rd. While Kenneth Cole is no stranger to social media, it looks like he may need a refresher on the brand’s social media guidelines