What Not to Do: New York Rangers

In our ongoing series about what not to do in social media, we’ve covered a lot of things that sound like plain old common sense. That’s fair; most of our tips are. But it seems that common sense is not so common, because here we go again.

Today’s tip: don’t offend half your potential customer base. The culprit: the New York Rangers. The team’s website posted an article purporting to help women watch hockey, entitled “A Girl’s Guide to Watching the Rangers.” The piece was the first in a series produced by a “contributor network” for the website’s “Blueshirts United” social media page. Here’s a link to the post. I’ll wait while you read it. It won’t take long.

Did you read it? Can you guess the problem? The article’s condescending tone, focus on “man-pleasing,” and ridiculous female stereotyping quickly caused an enormous backlash on Twitter. The post was quickly taken down in the wake of oceans of social media outrage, but the damage is done. Competing teams are posting snarky comments and parody articles, and female hockey fans are understandably fed up. So what lessons can we learn from the Rangers’ mistake?

1). Don’t annoy half your customer base. Do I really need to explain this one? Think before you type. Don’t post something that’s likely to alienate half (or even some) of your potential viewers, users, or buyers. Just don’t.

2). Slightly less obviously, know your audience. This article, aimed at women who have never watched hockey and have no idea what the game is about, was posted on a back page of a site built for die-hard, jersey-wearing fans of both genders. How likely is it that non-hockey fans were surfing this site? Make sure your content is posted in the right place for its target audience. Even if the content is good, it doesn’t matter if nobody reads it.