Online Community Managers Must Find Humor in Difficult Situations

Not every crisis you face as online community manager has to be hush-hush or super serious. You’ll find that people appreciate brands showing a human side. If you can treat negativity with humor and not insult the intelligence of your community, you’ll not only control the damage, but also may attract a slew of new members.

Recently, the American Red Cross encountered a situation that could have been scandalous but instead turned into something positive. A member of its social-media team forgot to switch to his personal Twitter account and sent the following tweet from the Red Cross account:

Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer…when we drink, we do it right. #gettingslizzerd

The public tweet and its ensuing hashtag insinuated that the Red Cross team was imbibing on company time, which wouldn’t go over well with the general public. Instead of deleting the tweet and pretending it didn’t happen, a spokesperson released the following tweet:

We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.

The Red Cross did the right thing. By not hiding the fact that someone mistakenly used the brand account to send out a personal and inappropriate tweet, it created some fun on Twitter as people retweeted the comment.

And the fun didn’t stop there. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery got into the act as well, encouraging its community members to give blood and then buy a beer. Soon, the Twitterverse was filled with comments by Dogfish community members who were doing just that.

The Red Cross/Dogfish tweets not only became a popular case study on handling a negative situation correctly, but also became one of Twitter’s top trending topics for that day.

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