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How to React to a Social Media Blunder

I had an experience the other week that social media community managers’ nightmares are made of, when I made a very public mistake on my company’s Facebook page:

To the Vin Diesel and Rock fans groaning out there, I know. How could I? I’m sorry – they are both good looking men and action movies aren’t my genre – but that is beside the point. I screwed up and on a company page no less. While I still shudder at the thought of the experience, I did learn some valuable lessons in responding to a social media crisis that are worth sharing. Sharing is caring, after all.

1.       Respond quickly, but thoughtfully

It took me a few minutes to realize what I did, but once reality set in, I had to spring into action. A quick and timely response is essential after a social media blunder. However, do not be impulsive. While time is of the essence, your response should be well thought out and calm.

If your mistake doesn’t involve anything serious, have fun with your response.  Try something light and humorous:

On the other end of the spectrum, if your mistake is serious, react accordingly. Be apologetic and take the situation seriously. Making light of a severe error could get you and your company in even more hot water.

2.       Admit your mistake

One of the biggest mistakes a company can make in dealing with a social media blunder is to try and cover up the mistake. Believe it or not, followers do like to see there are humans behind the logo. Your company will have an easier time by admitting your mistake than attempting to cover it up.

Under no circumstance should you delete your mistake. Chances are people took screenshots of your error before you had the chance to delete it. Don’t think people will hesitate to rip you apart for being dishonest—they will have a field day at your expense.

3.       Remain calm

People are going to say hurtful things, but you must not lash out. Remember, their comments are nothing personal. This is business.  If you need to take a lap around the office to shake off the harsh comments or have a coworker take over for you, do so.

Trust me, you do not want to blow a gasket and become the next Amy’s Bakery.

Repeat this to yourself: Keep calm and carry on.

4.       Monitor

The chatter surrounding your social slip-up will spread beyond its original social network. Monitor all of your company’s social platforms to help defuse the situation. Maintain a consistent and unified response across all networks.

Be aware that buzz surrounding your mistake could surpass social media and spread to other platforms, such as blogs. Google your company’s name and keywords surrounding your mistake to see what people are writing. Comment on blog posts with the same message you are delivering via social media.

5.       Forgive, but don’t forget

A mistake like this can be hard to swallow. Forgive yourself, but don’t forget.

Forgive so you can move on and get back to representing your company to the best of your ability. Don’t forget your mistake; instead, learn from it. Analyze where you went wrong and perhaps put new processes in place to prevent another social blunder from happening in the future.

For instance, show your next social post to a colleague before you post or triple-check the information you are posting. It’s time well spent if you can prevent another public blunder.

Have you had a similar experience? What did you learn and how did you recover?

Image via: badvoodoo404 (Flickr Commons)


Tags : Social Media

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