Social Media Mishaps: What to do if Something Goes Wrong
Social media is a powerful tactic for businesses and individuals to use to build and amplify their brand; however, there are downsides to this marketing tool. Businesses and individuals can post without thinking enough about the entirety of consequences that one post could have. The crazy thing is that one post, one sentence, one picture, one caption, or even one word could all have a very strong negative consequence.
There is always this risk, so this post is here to help everyone get out of a social media crisis without creating too much damage.
- Don’t react too quickly.
Reacting and posting too quickly could have been the reason behind the original social media post gone wrong. Mistakes are more likely to happen without thinking about the next steps, so the next steps need to be thought out and discussed with your team.
- Listen to what your followers and the Internet say about your posts.
You need to understand the language of the people talking about your post, so you know how to respond to them accordingly.
- Know the volume of your mistake.
It could be two people talking about your post, or it could be thousands. It is important to know the magnitude of damage so you can respond accordingly. If it is just a few people discussing their negative opinions, it is better to directly post back at them. For example, if there is a negative Facebook comment on a picture, then you can easily comment on their comment to not bring the issue to others. But, if this mistake goes viral, the company needs to publicly apologize with a new post.
- Admit your mistake.
Acknowledge that you were in the wrong. This is when listening to their language is important. If they call your post offensive, then admit the insensitivity. If they say you are wrong about something, then admit to being wrong.
- Don’t make excuses.
This goes along with admitting the mistake. No one wants to hear about “what you meant” by the offensive post. Everyone realistically knows you’re trying to cover it up.
Millennials are now, more than ever, looking to support companies that own up to their mistakes and apologize when they are in the wrong.
Last October, IHOP posted multiple sexist tweets including pictures of pancakes with captions like, “The butter face we all know and love” and “Flat, but has a GREAT personality”. After a lot of immediate backlash, IHOP admitted their mistake in the following tweet. This tweet offers a good example of how to try to gain back trust because of their straightforward admittance and apology.
- Delete the original post off of all social media accounts
Yes, people will take screen shots and send it around the Internet, or people will see it through all the discussion from their newsfeeds. But, deleting it offers a clean slate to the brand image for new viewers. If people come to your profile without knowing about the mistake, they shouldn’t find out on their own.
And just remember, you don’t have to post risky content to gain buzz. Not all buzz is good buzz. Think, discuss and double-check everything before posting to social media. And if it doesn’t go as planned, then follow these simple steps to minimize the damage.
About the author
Ali Castriano is a senior studying marketing and health care management at the Wisconsin School of Business and will be graduating this May. She is hoping to find a career in public relations, marketing, or advertising upon graduation. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or Instagram @alicastriano.