Then I saw who posted it. A comedian, jokester, YouTube star that I had followed since his career first started, In all his videos and posts he has always stayed away from politics, religion, etc. I always looked up to him for that and thought being a younger guy he would be for equality and inclusion. I posted a comment on the thread basically sharing my upset and disappointment, then I read the hundreds of comments. There were a small few bigoted comments in support of the meme and post but there were many dozens and dozens that clearly felt the same way I did, many with the comment “unfollowing you”.
Lance is a very popular YouTuber and I never expected him to reply to my comment and I was still so dumbfounded that someone would post something so mean. I took to twitter, Lance has over 826,000 followers there, mine is measly but the power of social media can be amazing. I shared the meme, tagged Lance in it and spoke out about how bigoted and hateful this was and that there are children all around the world that kill themselves because they aren’t accepted for who they are.
Lance responded. He immediately apologized and shared with me something that I had already assumed. Lance is his own business and social media is his platform so he does have staffers that help to manage his various social media platforms, one of them had decided to re-share the meme from another site and Lance had no idea it was even posted. Lance immediately regained my respect as a fan of his, he was so upset about it and assured me this was nowhere close to his outlook or opinion.
This was an interesting lesson though and Lance and I had a back and fourth text discussion about it. He “is” his own brand as @Lance210, in his face on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. The general public has no idea if it is him posting, or someone doing it for him, with an impressive 11.3 million facebook followers he has earned a lot of fans, this is his income. Social media gurus make money from many of these platforms it is literally their careers. The lesson here is that even ONE tweet, post, pic or meme can tarnish your brand, badly. How many hundreds or even thousands of fans unfollowed Lance that day?
Some fans were so outraged they reported the post to facebook internal security as an inappropriate post. Imagine the impact if his page had been shut down by facebook? You just lost the ability to communicate to your 11.3 million fans who are your customers and who you rely on for your well being.
In this day and age, it does not matter if your brand is just about you, a small company or a large corporation with thousands of employees. One single post to social media can damage that brand, very quickly. Lance managed it very well, reacted immediately, apologized and investigated how it all happened in the first place. If I am one of his customers then he did the absolute right thing and went into customer recovery mode, I am an even more eager fan than I was before.
So where do we go from here? Education, Education, Education and ensuring that we closely monitor what we are posting ourselves and what others might be posting on our behalf. I always ask myself before I post anything “would my mother be proud of me for posting this?” If I cannot give an emphatic YES, then I don’t post it. If you are a blogger and you have help managing your social media image make sure they know your moral code and brand standard.
Let me know what you think, feel free to comment below.
Practice Safe Social Media,