Wow. Just last week a group of senior corporate affairs people were talking about the interaction between traditional and online media.
You know the rub - social media can be where an issue starts and then traditional media grab it and it's away. It moves so fast you either can't respond, are ill-equipped to do so or management just don't 'get' the right way to deal with it. And before you know it, splat. The brand, online and off, has a big mess to clean up.
Usually however it's not kicked off, as one tweet described, by a management own-goal.
Today here's a great example, courtesy of Qantas. We've been following the twiiter storm that came after Qantas announced this competition.
What followed was painful to watch. The twitterverse, as it can, turned nasty.
It was almost like watching drunk, bored uni students sit around seeing who can make the wittiest, nastiest wise-crack at each others' expense.
Funny yes, pleasant no.
So from twitter announcement by @QantasAirways this morning to twitter backlash, broader social crankiness, then mainstream news. ABC News online and the SMH were right there, along with others.
Along the way we got the YouTube video, and, from @QantasAirways, this tweet with a picture of "Australia's most famous pyjamas".
Bottom line for financial services social media? Three things:
1. Understand how your audience sees you NOW. Are they already hugely annoyed? Then wait. Save your social whatever for another day...and think about polling, listening in to customer calls, or simply checking the idea with someone on the front line.
2. Have a contingency plan. Know what it looks like if it does (unlikely I know) go to custard. Let's say you do think it's a great time to launch a new competition to win a low value prize pack...stop for a minute and scenario plan what might go wrong. It's communication risk management 101.
3. Have senior folk (sign off) on call, and already socially aware so that under pressure they make the right call, or back yours.
Qantas may well have done all this...and still had a less than ideal day.
Hopefully they also have a sense of humour. Twitter as stand up is hilarious. Perhaps not so when it's your own brand.