Last night, the Kansas City Chiefs blocked a Twitter follower for calling them out on their spending habits in recent years. As reported earlier today by Bob Fescoe of 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City, the Chiefs Twitter policy is to block no one unless their behavior gets vulgar. I looked up the tweet that caused the stir from @teedubya, and I have to admit, I wasn’t exactly comfortable embedding it on my own site.
That being said, the problem is not that the Chiefs blocked Travis Wright, who is a global Social Media Manager with over 120,000 Twitter followers (oops….), it’s how they responded with the following private direct message:
“Would help if you got your facts straight. Your choice to be a fan. cc get a clue”
Being a resource for online marketers, I thought I would offer my take on the good, bad, and ugly on the Chiefs reaction.
First, I love that the Chiefs replied to Wright directly. A lot of brands get online customer service wrong by hiding behind their social media accounts and seemingly never crawl out to face a challenge. Facebook and Twitter provide a great opportunity for brands to flex their customer service muscles in a very public setting, shouting to their fan bases that they are there to help. I suspect professional sports teams don’t often do this because they have to weed through thousands of Monday morning GM’s simply venting their frustrations, whether based in fact or not.
….which is where this story quickly turns bad. I guess Wright didn’t technically have his facts straight when he stated on Twitter that the Chiefs had $30 Million in cap room. But as reported here last week, the Chiefs are $26.6 Million under the cap. The second lowest payroll in the league, and yes, they are consistently in the bottom five. This response did the Chiefs absolutely no favors by calling even more attention to the facts that they are among the lowest spenders in the entire NFL. This will be a none-issue next year when a salary floor is implemented, but don’t fool yourselves, the Chiefs are one of the teams saving money as long as they can.
Lastly, did I mention that the Chiefs responded to a Twitter user who makes his living doing social media management? This guy has more followers than the Chiefs themselves – you almost can’t make this stuff up. Much of the reaction on Twitter has been that the response from the Chiefs seems to have been penned by a twelve-year old. I won’t speculate on that, but would recommend that the Chiefs unblock @teedubya, and then DM him begging for social media consulting.