Your Social Media Account Was Hacked: Now What?

burger_king_twitter_hack

A little over two hours ago, Burger King’s Twitter account was hacked. Their profile was made to look like the McDonald’s Twitter account and the hackers began posting tweets no brand would be happy about. About 30 minutes later, the account was suspended. Right now it’s not clear whether it was suspended by the Burger King social media response team or by Twitter itself which takes down accounts that post offensive materials. Either way, Burger King has found itself in a delicate position where their next move is critical.

Their first step is to regain control of their account and change passwords not only on Twitter but all their social media channels. Then, after removing the unwanted tweets and getting their account back online it will be time to acknowledge the situation. They could go with a self-deprecating tweet or simply address their followers in a matter-of-fact way. The worst thing they could do is ignore the attention their account is getting and act like nothing has happened.

McDonald’s has wisely responded already to the event with a tweet stating, “We empathize with our @BurgerKing counterparts. Rest assured, we had nothing to do with the hacking.” McDonald’s knows this situation impacts them almost as much as it does Burger King and their quick response is already spreading rapidly across Twitter. Burger King would be wise to thank McDonald’s for this because that tweet is holding over the Twitter audience while the Burger King account remains suspended.

In the hour between the hacking and Burger King’s account being taken down, the account gained thousands of followers. “Burger King” became a top trend for all of Twitter to see.  After their account comes back online they will undoubtedly gain even more followers just to see how Burger King responds. The free press could be seen as the silver lining of this story. If Burger King plays their cards right this could be a great opportunity for them to connect with their expanded audience.

Do you have an emergency plan in place in the event something like this happens to your organization’s social media channels? If not, meet this afternoon or give us a call. It matters that much.

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Nicole Knoll

About Nicole Knoll

AdWords Certified Professional. Social media expert (@nverhey). Market researcher. Nicole wears many hats in her role as digital marketing strategist. A valuable support person for the business development team, she is always ready to bring new ideas to the table and lends her expertise in emerging media to marketing campaigns. She also coordinates Geonetric’s social media accounts, webinars, and tradeshow events. Nicole received her BA in English from the University of Iowa with a minor in business administration. She is a three-time American Advertising Award winner and a devoted volunteer for Dance Marathon and Operation Overnight.

4 thoughts on “Your Social Media Account Was Hacked: Now What?

  1. The Burger King situation raised the attention of our PR department and made us realize that we need to include a response to an online situation in our crisis communications plan. This post aligns with our instincts of how to manage a similar situation. Love that you posted and responded so quickly! We’re always looking to experienced health care marketers for their recommendations.

  2. I’m glad this post shined some light on an important piece of your crisis communication plan. Social media stories happen so quickly that having plans in place before an incident occurs will be very helpful. Thanks for your comment, Laura!

  3. Each situation is different, so I think a “template” would be a tough way to go about it. The response needs to be done in the spirit of the organization and with some care of what the original message or situation was.

    Burger King made light of the situation with their response tweet: “Interesting day here at Burger King, but we’re back! Welcome to our new followers. Hope you all stick around!”

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