Another day another multinational social media disaster

By Benjamin Haslem

I wrote yesterday about a small business in the Hunter Valley, north of Sydney, monumentally butchering its brand on social media, courtesy of an ill-thought-through tirade against vegans on its Facebook page.

The episode highlighted the need every company and organisation to have a social media guide or set of protocols (see an example below).

A slip up by a small hamburger restaurant is perhaps understandable but multinationals have a habit of sticking
their social media feet firmly down their throats too.

Step up chocolate giant Nestle.

On Sunday night, the Twitter account of Crunch Mexico, used to spruik Nestle's chocolate bar, tweeted: "A los de
Ayotzinapa les dieron Crunch".

The phrase refers to a slang term used when someone is beaten up and loosley translates: "Those from Ayotzinapa were crushed".

Ayotzinapa refers to the killing, burning and burying of 43 students who went missing on 26 September near Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico.

The tweet sparked calls for a boycott of Nestle products on social media. 

A Nestle spokesman told The Independent newspaper: "We have apologised for this completely unacceptable tweet which is entirely contrary to the values of our company.

"We deeply regret any distress it may have caused. We understand and share the public's concern about this post. We take this matter extremely seriously."

It remains unclear if the Twitter account was hacked.

Either way, it is crucial for any organisation to have a policy setting out how it should engage on social media.

Key features should include a set of guiding principles:

  1. Always behave respectfully online whether representing yourself or your organisation;
  2. Do not lie or withhold the truth;
  3. Always be courteous in the online community, whether to friends, colleagues or strangers;
  4. The web contains a permanent record of your mistakes; if in doubt, do not post; and
  5. The web is not anonymous. Employees should assume everything they write can be traced back to the organisation, if not them personally.