The tweet that lost a client

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shhh

News that an LA-based PR agency was unceremoniously dumped this week after it sent a thoughtless tweet comes as no surprise. The company in question – Redner Group – got sacked by its biggest client, a video game publisher, after its MD tweeted it would punish bad reviews of its latest release by withholding future copies from reviewers.

The story comes just days after the MOD launched its ‘Careless Tweets Cost Lives’ campaign, which begs the question: why are so many PR professionals, the ‘reputation experts’, continuing to tweet before they think?

In recent months, Twitter has brought the English justice system to its knees thanks to Giggs-gate; we’ve had hash-tag spam from Habitat, while Kenneth Cole felt the wrath of the web following his now-infamous Egypt Twitter gaffe.

When users, and particularly PR practitioners, cock up via social media, it never fails to cause a storm. That social media is embedded in traditional PR is a given, but it’s still a relatively new tool with no steadfast rules of engagement.

That said, threatening to blacklist reviewers, à la Redner Group, is not big or clever. It showed not just a lack of foresight, but a complete lack of respect and understanding of the medium at hand. Although an apology was offered, it was too late. The tweet was out there, the agency sacked. End of!

Twitter breaks boundaries like never before. It gives PR consultants the opportunity to engage with journalists, react to breaking news and spot trends before they go viral. However, while it extends the conversation, careless tweets really do cost.

The message is simple: every tweet puts the reputation of you and your business on the line. If you wouldn’t want it on the front page of the Daily Mail, keep it under-wraps. Simple advice? Yes. Adhered to? Worryingly not!