You are working your social media—religiously. Still, mistakes happen. The poorly timed tweet. The politically sensitive Facebook image. The not-such-a-great-idea hashtag. The clever post that showed the world you don’t follow current news. The unfortunate late Friday afternoon tweet when your social media manager forgot he was not on his personal Twitter account. Let’s face it…things happen.
Don’t worry, you are not alone.
Even big corporations sometimes miss the mark:
J.P. Morgan learned a Twitter Q&A promoted as #AskJPM was not such a great idea when the Twitterverse was in the ripe mood to slam financial giants.
Epicurious was criticized when it promoted its whole-grain cranberry scone and healthy breakfast with a tweet shortly after the tragic Boston Marathon bombing that read, “Boston, our hearts are with you. Here’s a bowl of breakfast energy we could all use to start today.” The company did tweet a prompt apology.
US Airways felt the ire after a viral retweet of a pornographic image mistakenly shared from its Twitter account. The image was tweeted at least once in response to a customer who complained to US Airways in a tweet saying, “You ruined my spring break, I want some free stuff.” American Airlines, which is in the process of merging with US Airways, apologized for the inappropriate tweet. In US Airways' defense, the tweeted porn ended up in the company’s Twitter feed by accident.
Major corporations have felt the bitter sting of social media condemnation, all thanks to unfortunate hashtags, spelling errors, poorly timed jokes, funny pictures that were anything but funny and even attempts at crisis control—defensive marketing that ended up being little more than Twitter rants.
What To Do If Social Media Mishaps Hit?
Own It - Don’t be afraid to say you are sorry. Mistakes happen. Humility is powerful. Show empathy. Show compassion. In short, show you care! If a tweet or post was insensitive, or poorly timed, show grace in asking for forgiveness and don't feel the need to insert useless humor or make the situation worse by defending your position, especially if you know your social media post was in the wrong. Be timely in taking responsibility and showing a desire for clemency, even consideration. If you feel the tweet, post or share was not offensive or perhaps was misconstrued, share that with delicacy—not anger or defensiveness. You want to facilitate a harmonious resolution so that everyone comes away with neutrality, even tranquility.
Accept It - Courtesy under fire is a gift—bestow it to yourself and your social media campaign. Rejecting or denying that a social media disaster hit will not help you move forward. Take a philanthropic positioning—remember, your social media platforms are a form of customer service and client care. With authentic decency, accept that something bad happened and work to improve the situation. Be sincere—don’t fake it. Accept it, take the appropriate actions to arrive at an honest, genuine resolution and move forward.
Get It - When all is tweeted and done, make sure you get what all the fuss was about in the first place. Learn from the experience. Grow from the experience. Use it to generate better social media posts and exchanges. If the trouble started because of a sadly timed seasonal tweet, be more present in your content creativity and be mindful of religious holidays, national days of observance and work to stay current with the news of the day. If you understand what went wrong, you will have gained a new empiricism and maturity.
The result: Better social media engagement and a revitalized commitment to deliver superior, creative posts designed to please everyone.