Twitter firestorm offers valuable lessons on marketing and social media

When a marketing campaign accidentally linked to a controversial site, this family travel planning organization had to react fast.

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Small-business owners know that crises don’t arrive when the phone rings. Phone calls are for plot reveals in movies; we’re too busy checking email.

Most of our days are spent interacting digitally with clients and customers, looking for ways to make those interactions more relevant and personal. So when the Hootsuite app on my phone started pinging at 10:07 p.m. over dinner in February, the last thing I was expecting was a tweetstorm.

For 20 years I have run, a community for those who “Have Kids, Still Travel” that has helped millions of travelers plan better family vacations and helped travel partners reach them. We survived the internet boom and the internet crash, plane hijackings, the demise of print and MySpace, 9/11, SARS, hurricanes, tsunamis, volcanic ash clouds, Zika—the list of travel-related plagues is endless.

On the night of Feb. 23, our Twitter stream was revealing, in real time, something new. It was a crisis of faith among our followers. They were “screaming” because my family-owned business, outspoken advocates for global travel, was advertising its service on alt-right media.

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