The Analytics of a Twitter Nightmare: Dissecting the KitchenAid Tweet

By now, chances are you’ve seen the distasteful tweet posted – accidentally, we’d assume – from the KitchenAid official Twitter handle during last night’s presidential debate.

As a community manager, this was brutal to watch unfold. I manage my own handle as well as the official @SimplyMeasured account from the same Twitter client. Granted, my tweets aren’t usually this offensive (and by that I’m referring both to the content and 3rd grade grammar), but I wouldn’t want any personal tweet going out to our brand’s audience. Clearly, everyone at KitchenAid felt the same way.

The initial tweet, which was posted at 6:42PM PST (and even more public than a normal tweet from KitchenAid’s account because of the traffic to the #nbcpolitics hashtag during the debate), was immediately pulled. In under eight minutes, a thread of apology tweets from Cynthia Soledad, the senior director of KitchenAid were sent out, identifying herself, apologizing to The President and his family, taking responsibility for the error and alluding to the termination of the employee who made the awful joke (again, I mean “awful” both in content, and in lack of wit).

Shortly thereafter, Soledad began reaching out to media outlets, and offering to talk on the record about the incident.

The whole thing happened, was responded to and damage-controlled in under 2.5 hours. From a PR standpoint, KitchenAid gets an A+ for the way they handled the situation.

Naturally, we spent all morning poring through KitchenAid’s Twitter analytics at The Simply Measured office.

The engagement spike, as expected, took place in the hour following the initial tweet and subsequent apology, and tapered off as Soledad began her damage-control and media outreach.

There are a few comments from polite, calm and rational Twitter users who will “NEVER EVER USE KITCHENAID AGAIN AND WILL TELL THEIR FAMILY, FRIENDS AND COWORKERS TO DO THE SAME” but overall, KitchenAid’s professional and quick response to the gaffe was received well and earned the brand over 1,000 new followers since the time of Soledad’s first response.

The whole incident spread across Twitter like wildfire, catching the eyes – and tweets – of several high-profile users. Mashable, Gawker and other news outlets were quick to notice, and even Wu Tang’s own Ghostface Killah retweeted a friend’s distaste for the initial bad joke. They apparently take their kitchen mixers seriously in the 36 Chambers.

Kevin Shively

I run the Inbound team at Simply Measured. Basically, I tell stories. My job is to share our content, messages & products with the internet. You're welcome internet.

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  • http://www.joetaxpayer.com JoeTaxpayer

    I think Kitchen Aid and Big Bird were the real winners last night. Awareness counts for a lot, and KitchenAid responded quickly. The Tweet itself was uncalled for, but from anyone else, random tweeters, it would just have passed. The issue was that it came from a Brand account.
    I have one of their big job mixers, 20 years old and still pushing out cookie dough and cake mixes. I like this company.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tori.wilder Tori Wilder Williams

    There is an abiding line between personal and professional, even in the open land of social media.

  • Josh

    I work at NBC News and it was interesting/frightening to see how the offensive posters’ inclusion of our hashtag contributed to/skewed intelligence around the #nbcpolitics hashtag that night. On the one hand, we had a nice story to tell about reach. On the other hand, the context sucked. It’s a cautionary tale about how branded hashtags can be abused.