Hit or miss? Microsoft tweet promotes Amy Winehouse music the day after her death

Microsoft faced a torrent of online criticism following a tweet from its Xbox 360 PR Twitter account the day after Amy Winehouse's death. 'Remember Amy Winehouse by downloading the ground-breaking "Back to Black" over at Zune,' it stated. With Twitter users fuming, Microsoft was forced to clarify its position. 'Apologies to everyone,' began a subsequent tweet, insisting the first message was not 'purely commercially motivated'.

Microsoft tweet: promotes Amy Winehouse day after her death
Microsoft tweet: promotes Amy Winehouse day after her death

HOW I SEE IT

Neil Bayley, Corporate practice leader, Porter Novelli

The Microsoft tweet was open to misinterpretation because it is so hard to convey tone through the brevity of social media messages.

It highlights two things about corporate reputation management in the context of digital and social media. Firstly, you need robust guidelines that steer employees in the thought behind their actions, not just the tasks themselves. Secondly, you need to be constantly vigilant and prepared to react fast with a clear response.

It was enough that Microsoft tweeted twice after the negative response. It was clear it realised the error of judgement. However, it was a miss, because its guidelines and approach failed to take into account how the tweet might be received.

MISS

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