What constitutes a social media fail? Basically anything that will hurt your company’s reputation and make your brand suffer.
Some big names (that should know better) have experienced some agonisingly epic social media fails which will serve as examples to the world of what not to do. The American Red Cross was left red-cheeked for example, when an intern accidentally posted an embarrassing tweet to Twitter:
Other major fails might involve your employees filming themselves doing something stupid and it going viral, accidentally posting something that your followers find offensive or customers bombarding your page with complaints.
Whatever your unfortunate fail might be, it’s time for a little damage control. Here’s how to recover your reputation after any social media fail:
1. Own up to it
Don’t ignore the problem, the first step is admitting to your wrong-doing. You need to acknowledge the fact that a mistake was made and let your following know that you will be taking steps to remedy the problem.
2. Accept the feedback you receive
If you’re receiving negative feedback regarding a particular incident, let it be. Don’t go on the defensive, arguing with the haters. This will hurt your brand even more by making you look even more guilty and in the wrong.
3. Talk to your customers/following
This is a good idea if individual’s are making complaints against your company or products. Apologise for any inconvenience they may have been caused and offer them compensation, even if it’s just a promise that things will be improved in the future.
4. Make a formal apology
Make an honest and specific apology, addressing the problem or incident. This could be a simple tweet or take the form of something more in-depth such as an interview or a press release.
5. Get support from influential people/followers
Other businesses or influential figures in your industry will hopefully be understanding of your blunder. If they can express their support for you or your company on social media this will go a long way towards rebuilding those bridges with your following.
6. Give somebody a strong telling off
We all make mistakes, but you need to make sure that this particular mistake doesn’t happen again, ever! Therefore, whoever is responsible for the fail needs a good talking to. Depending on the severity of the incident you will also be within your rights to get rid of the individual.
7. Set up a company policy
Your whole staff needs to be aware of what happened. They need to know that this doesn’t fly. Set up a policy that all must adhere to for starters and give them training on appropriate online behaviour if needs be.
8. Continue to post as normal
Saying that a social presence is important for business is like saying that we need air to stay alive. Don’t let the incident put you off, keep on going with social media so that you can communicate with your customers and market your products.
9. Rebuild your brand's message
By continuing to post on social media you have an opportunity to convey the real message you’re trying to put across. Be extra professional and post useful content that will benefit your clientele. Then hopefully they’ll start liking you again!
10. If all else fails pretend you got hacked
Joke! Don’t go trying to skirt away from the blame. Own up to your mistake, learn from it and move on.
Think about all that happens in an internet minute. As long as your response to this epic failure is positive, people should move on in next to no time. We all make mistakes after all.