Senior Living
Marketing Solutions

February 22nd 2011

When Social Media Goes Wrong: Turn it into a Positive


Randy-EiltsLast week I had the opportunity to attend a two-day conference about social media. The conference was sponsored by Ragan Communications, PR Daily and the Public Relations Society of America. I’ve always been a firm believer in the power of social media, and now even more so. When used with a good strategic planning, and a commitment to make it work, companies and organizations everywhere are seeing good results.

Whenever I do presentations on the topic, I always get the question, “What if one of my employees states something that isn’t appropriate?” During the conference, there was a representative from the American Red Cross as one of the speakers. As if on command, the American Red Cross faced such a situation, and the entire conference of communications professionals got to witness how this national organization handled it. Let’s just say a comment about beer drinking ended up in the wrong place. But, by being honest, transparent, and acknowledging that we’re all human and make mistakes, the situation turned around and resulted in donations pouring in for the organization.

Read how the American Red Cross handled the situation on their blog.

This is one good example of the importance of staying on top of your social media initiatives, and not letting something spin completely out of control. I’m curious if any senior living communities have faced a situation through the use of social media that prompted some quick thinking or reaction. Let us know! We can all learn from sharing with each other.

About the Author

Randy Eilts

Randy Eilts

Vice President, Public RelationsAssociate Since 2003

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  1. Perhaps just as common as worries about inappropriate staff postings are worries about negative postings from customers. When I hear this concern, my response is that it’s important to remember that people can say whatever they want, but when they post it on a Facebook page or blog, that gives us an opportunity to respond. We don’t have that opportunity when they just complain to their friends offline.

  2. Glenn says:

    A senior living provider needs to train staff on what is appropriate for social media. A social media policy and training on the use of personal information is essential. HIPAA/HITECH issues need to be addressed. If a client posts personal information, this is an opportunity to professionally redirect you clients to a compliant communciation method. If your staff engages in noncompliant communication you need to verify if your training or you may have an HR issue.

  3. Randy Eilts says:

    @Glenn, I agree a social media policy is very important for any organization. It helps set the groundrules up front so employees understand the expectations up front on use of social media when it comes to their particular community or organization. Southwest Airlines recently rolled out a policy for its company. It’s very lenient, yet specific in terms of what employees can mention on behalf of their employer.

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