When are brands allowed to be snarky on social media?

Admit it—you’ve wanted to snap off a sarcastic tweet to someone on Twitter. Turns out, there might be a time and place for it, maybe.

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The network had switched from its coverage of the Bears-Vikings game—the Bears were winning handily at the time—which irked a number of viewers, who took their complaints to Twitter.

In response, the robot mascot for the NFL on Fox—whose name is Cleatus—fired off this snarky remark:

I understand #Bears fan are upset the game was switched but it could be worse, it could be last week and you could be down 32-7!

— Cleatus (@CLEATUSonFOX) November 25, 2012

The NFL on Fox Twitter feed retweeted Cleatus—a bold move considering the initial tweet had rubbed a number of Twitter users the wrong way.

The incident brings up a question new to brands in the social media age: When is it OK to give a snarky reply?

For the brands I work with—who tend to live on the conservative end of the spectrum—the answer is never. But obviously there are brands that can get away with it. So the first step in determining when it’s OK to snark it up is to establish whether your brand can, indeed, take that tone.

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