Let’s all give Senator Ted Cruz a collective “thank you” for what happened on his Twitter account yesterday.

Reportedly, someone was signed into the senator’s official Twitter account and clicked the heart symbol below an adult video creating a “@tedcruz liked this.” It was taken down less than an hour later. “It was a staffing issue and it was inadvertent,” the senator said. “It was a mistake.”

But Cruz’s mistake hopefully got your attention and perhaps may just save your company from experiencing a similar public relations nightmare. Apparently, multiple staff members have access to the account and post on his behalf. Redundancy is not a bad thing when it comes to social media access. But who has access and where they access from is. And that lesson is an invaluable one.

When you’re in technology marketing, you tend to be on the forefront of new media. Being an early adopter goes with the territory, and social media was no different. I quickly recognized that social media is simply public relations that is accessible to virtually everyone on the planet. But used incorrectly, it is a weapon that is as dangerous as it is powerful.

Many companies have embraced the new medium. In business, Twitter has done wonders for (mostly) B2C companies drive branding, engagement, and sales. Yet, some companies still view it as a necessary evil. Consequently, it gets put on the back burner and/or given less importance than other digital marketing because it’s misunderstood or easily misused.
Even the implication of a Bible-thumping politician frequenting an adult entertainment site is an uncomfortable irony to say the least, Cruz’s bigger mistake, in my opinion, was not vetting the social media posters and their processes. For example, it should be in the hands of your most trusted employees or vendors – not summer interns or low person on the totem pole. Think of it with the permanence of a book – not an erasable chalk board.

We may never know for sure how the Ted Cruz porn like post happened. Whether it was malicious, accidental, or occurred as a result from a hacker who disagreed with his politics. But you can benefit from Ted’s misstep by taking a closer look at your social media strategy before missteps happen.

  1. Choose your social media posters wisely. They should be PR pros.
  2. Make sure all posts are crafted ahead of time.
  3. Review all posts. Then have others do the same.
  4. Make company posts from office computers that block objectionable websites and not personal computers and smart phones.