Tesla is in the market for a full-time “customer support specialist” who can “address social media escalations directed at the CEO,” according to a recent posting on Tesla’s Careers page.
This means Tesla — the world’s pre-eminent electric car company aims to hire someone to handle unhappy customers — in addition to shielding its CEO Elon Musk from criticism — on social media.
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Tesla hiring social media manager to defend Elon Musk online
Few remain unaware of Elon Musk’s online reputation to be outspoken at times. His effect on Twitter can sometimes be controversial, while at other times he leaves his followers baffled.
However, Musk is about to unleash the power of PR.
UPDATE Jan. 19, 1:50 PM EST: Elon Musk, Tesla could benefit from PR, social media management
This news seems counterintuitive since Tesla abandoned its entire public relations department in October 2020 — emphasizing Musk’s tense relationship with media in general. Musk had seemed content to deal with his media presence single-handedly, via his personal account.
Whether Tesla or its CEO regrets the earlier dismissal of the PR department is anyone’s guess, but no one can deny how difficult the job will be, judging from Tesla’s reputation of sub-par quality control — including faulty seatbelt installation, issues with fit and finish, and even roofs tearing off of the vehicle on highways.
Another automaker, Ford, has also offered criticism.
Lacking a PR department, Tesla has basically redirected customer frustration back to Elon Musk’s personal Twitter account. A calmer, more detached handler would probably better mitigate escalating threads on social media, especially since Musk’s attention to the social media is difficult to predict.
UPDATE Jan. 19, 2:10 PM EST: Without full PR team, new social media manager will have very difficult time
Tesla leadership likely remembers when Musk and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reached a settlement in April of 2019 — which stipulates that the CEO is required to acquire pre-approval before making posting on social media.
However, lacking a fully-staffed PR team, any prospective new hire at Tesla will likely have an extremely difficult job.