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We are all human and we all make mistakes. As social media has become increasingly critical for businesses and as the popularity has risen over the past decade, it is not an absurd thought that once in awhile there would be social media blunders and tweets that probably shouldn’t have been posted. As brands fight to have the most compelling content that will maybe go viral and aid to some positive ROI, boundaries are pushed in order to stand out.
From my perspective, I believe that there are just a few things that you need to remember about social media blunders and how to recover from them. Everyone has their own list and some are very exhaustive, but I believe that at the end of the day, simplicity is key. Here are my thoughts and if you understand these three easy concepts, social media blunders can hopefully be prevented and/or recovered from with the most success as possible.
1) Mistakes happen. Recognize the mistake as soon as possible. Mistakes go viral much quicker than great marketing tactics. They spread like a wildfire that is just seeking to destroy the reputation of a brand. The tip is to notice that mistake before it goes everywhere because if you don’t respond quickly, it makes my second point a little harder to do.
2) Apologize. If you catch the mistake early, the way you recover from a social media blunder will definitely be taken into consideration and you will be able to dampen the fire a little bit. Wait a day or two to respond, and it will be too late. The key to apologizing is to do it sincerely, promptly, and take the necessary actions to prevent the mistake from happening again. Now, many companies like Home Depot with their recent social media blunder shown below, chose to apologize and then fired the person responsible as well as the agency which was a very drastic move. However, it showed the audience that mistakes happen, they apologized, and they went above and beyond to ensure that people don’t associate those behaviors and thoughts with the brand. Generally, it is best to terminate the person responsible and rally together as a company for some good ‘ol crisis management.
3) Be Human. At the end of the day, mistakes happen and you apologize but through all of it, be human. Auto response and sending out a mass automated message to everyone individually (in order to attempt to “personalize” the message) just comes off as insincere and looks like you aren’t taking the time to truly respond to the matter without using your social media tools and programs. Sometimes all you need is a genuine message in layman terms showing that your brand is human. Of course, you have to stay professional, but don’t send a mass tweet to everyone “individually” or a direct message, don’t over do it. Social media blunders can definitely ruin a brand’s reputation and cause a wave of problems that time can only hope to fix. The key to an effective recovery and crisis management is sincerity and the only way to do that is by being human.
Bottomline & the Lesson for Brands: Some things transcend your products or service. Effective crisis management procedures and plans are imperative for all brands on social platforms.
What are your thoughts on social media blunders? What’s the worst one you’ve seen?