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Saving Yourself from a Social Media Fail

If you’ve ever read White House secretary Sean Spicer’s twitter feed, you would know that not all social media flops are easy to erase.

In the world of social media where the barriers of entry to upload content is low, it’s normal to make a typo or two, or even schedule the wrong posts. With the proliferation of social media across the globe, your posts are broadcasted to the world in a matter of seconds.

What happens if, against all odds, you accidentally post content that contradicts with your brand image, and even put your brand reputation on the line? How do you salvage the situation, and your reputation?

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Here are 4 essential ways to do damage control:

  1. Respond immediately on the same platform.

One mistake most corporations make is to try to avert the crisis by responding to people on a different platform. If you made a mistake on Twitter, why would fans visit your Facebook page to see if you’ve apologized? Respond to comments and rectify your mistake on the same platform where the mistake was spotted.

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  1. Don’t sit on it.

People also hate waiting, so get to it once you’ve spotted your mistake! When things like these happen, avoid using a platform that you have no control over. After all, if it’s a minor error, don’t let it get out of hand by ignoring the mistake.

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  1. Never fight fire with fire.

When defending yourself from the swarm of nasty comments coming your way, you might feel tempted to bite back. It’s only natural to be emotionally affected by your followers’ (or ex-followers’) stinging words, but don’t let it get to you. Giving others a piece of your mind may end up making the situation even worse than it should be. Be careful and try to resist being snarky!

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  1. Mistakes are traffic drivers – seize the opportunity!

Social media fails can drive a lot of traffic and attention to your page because, let’s admit it – we are all hungry for gossip. If there’s anything we learned from the Red Cross rogue tweet, it’s that making light of a minor mistake can help your consumers see the humor in it as well. Sometimes, you can get an even bigger fan following because of it!

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Of course, we still have to keep in mind that in this case, the mistake was a minor one, and this tactic may not work with all situations. For instance, leaving an entire country out of your ad, or accidentally publishing a direct message despite being the CFO of a major social media platform.

  1. Admit it and move on.

We’re all human, and a mistake like this does not necessarily spell the end of your social media reputation. Be sincere and honest; tell your fans what you did wrong and apologize for it. A research paper by Sora Kim, Elizabeth Avery and Ruthann Lariscy has shown that people are more accepting of organizations that apologize rather than those who choose to ignore mistakes.

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Think about your readers as if they were mere acquaintances, and you’ve accidentally sent the wrong message to them. It could be slightly offensive, or perhaps it’s plainly too much information. You cannot pretend it didn’t happen, and you definitely wouldn’t want to take too long to explain yourself. A fast, direct apology works best.

What next?

So you’ve apologized, and you promise you wouldn’t let that happen again. Now to put those words into action. Try setting up some standard protocol for your social media accounts and follow them closely.

Is the content you’re posting politically, grammatically, or just simply, correct? Is what you’re posting important information? Have you consulted with a second eye? Make a checklist to be safe.

Keep in mind though – every social media fail is different, so these tips may apply to some but not others. Be careful, and good luck! If you ever need any help, though, we’re happy to lend you a hand, so don’t hesitate to drop us a note!

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