Most everyone in this day and age is linked to some social media platform, whether it be for personal or business use, we can all admit belonging to one or another. Because social media has grown to be so powerful for individuals and for brands it is important to understand that a single social media mistake could easily make or break your reputation.
Often posts don’t work out as planned and can be seen as offensive or insensitive once followers provide feedback. Brands are constantly trying to gain positive attention via social media and often overlook small mistakes. Here are the dos and don’ts on how to bounce back from a social media “oopsie.”
- Own it. Be professional by taking ownership of the post and admitting to the mistake. An example of this is when the DiGiorno brand started a trending topic on twitter with the hashtag #WhyIStayed. They failed to do their research prior to this upon the realization that this hashtag was being used in reference to women who stayed in abusive relationships. DiGiorno deleted the post and admitted their fault, personally responding with an apology to every angry tweet.
- Turn it around. Although the saying stands true, what’s done is done, you can still make a mistake work by using it as an opportunity to
improve. When the American Red Cross accidentally tweeted, “Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas touch beer…. when we drink we do it right #gettngslizzerd” the brand immediately apologized and made light of the mistake. The tweet turned into an opportunity for Red Cross when Dogfish Head fans jumped on the hashtag and asked fans to donate to the Red Cross.
- Pretend it never happened. Acknowledging the situation puts rumors to rest and makes people stick around longer to see what happens next. If the post has to be deleted, do so, but the audience should always have an explanation. Removing negative comments and users only make people come back for more and with a vengeance, like Smucker’s when they deleted negative Facebook comments about genetically modified organisms.
- React hastily. Even though you should be quick to respond to posts, make sure they are sincere and take accountability for the action. If you’re replying in haste of correcting the mistake you may make things worse with another inappropriate statement, like Belvedere Vodka after issuing a half-hearted apology for an ad that makes light of rape.
The takeaway from this is to think before you post in order to avoid sticky situations that may cause backlash on behalf of your business or brand. When a social media mistake does happen though don’t wait too long to address the issue and always take time to craft a thoughtful response. A social media mistake is not the end of the world, but how you deal with it can make or break your reputation in the long run.