Social media is a must-have strategy for today’s brands. With people turning to their mobile devices and social media accounts, they are a natural place to reach prospective and current customers. Because of this, businesses are making an effort to reach out to their audience on social media.
In today’s volatile online world, managing your company’s reputation can be challenging. People are watching your every move and waiting for you to make a mistake. With fast-moving stream of updates, one negative feedback, insensitive statement or inappropriate opinion can spread within seconds. This can severely affect your brand’s image.
Have you ever been involved in a social media meltdown? This is how to recover from it.
Have you ever posted something on social media and then instantly regret it? Maybe you used an insensitive hashtag, joked about something that hurt your community or it could be something as simple as a poorly timed post. Sometimes, you only realize your mistake after you hit enter.
If you find yourself drowning in a pool of hate, don’t panic. Take a deep breath. At this point, it’s important to act and think fast. You’ll need to have a firm plan in place to help you bounce back. Assemble your team and develop a solid recovery plan.
Act fast but sensibly
Social media has a fast-paced news cycle. Whether you misused a hashtag or a customer posted something about an unfortunate experience with your company, the results can be catastrophic.
Word travels fast on social media. Within a short period of time, this can cause a firestorm on social media. The worst thing you can do is to ignore the possibility of a social media disaster.
Every second of silence may add skepticism. A few hours of social media disaster can easily turn into a huge PR nightmare. As soon as you realize that you have created a controversy, log in to your account and delete the offending post. You want to discourage people from sharing the post or joining in on the conversation.
Although it is good to respond in a timely manner, you should take the time to craft a thoughtful, well-crafted response. When issues arise, people will be watching to see how you react. They will want an explanation for your action. Tell your story before people make their own. Prepare a statement and decide where and how to disseminate it.
Acknowledge your mistake
There are times when things slip out of our control. It doesn’t matter how solid your reputation is or how hard you work to please your customers. At some point, you are going to experience a social media crisis. Even big brands are not immune to social media disaster.
If you have posted something your audience didn’t like or received a negative feedback from a customer, acknowledge your mistake. Never act as if nothing happened. If you do, your critic will only get angrier and make a bolder attempt to get your attention.
We are humans and we all make mistakes. People will understand that. But you should be bold enough to own up to your mistakes. Be humble and human. If people express ire, apologize. A canned response is a no-no. Your fans and followers would appreciate it knowing that there’s a real person behind that cold corporate logo. People will forgive you if you say sorry and you mean it.
Get discussions out of the public eye
As mentioned above, people will be watching your every move. They’ll want to know how you’ll deal with the issue.
How you deal with the problem will depend on how severe the problem is. If it’s an angry customer complaining about a product or service, it is best to take the conversation offline. Please note that the person is upset. He/she will want to tell his/her story to anyone who is willing to listen. Arguing with them in public will only devalue the integrity of your brand.
In situations like this, the best course of action is to provide your email address and contact number. Encourage the person to talk to you and resolve the issue privately. People will know that you have reached out to the person and that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to fix the problem.
Show courtesy and a genuine desire to help the customer. Also, offer to make it right with whatever you feel is most appropriate.
Diffuse with humor
Humor, when used properly, can serve as an effective crisis management strategy. If you were the one responsible for the wrong post, feel free to poke fun at yourself. This is an effective strategy because it shows that you’re unafraid and you’re willing to admit your mistakes. Self-depreciation does not only show your humility. Sometimes, it also helps relieve tension and appease critics.
Keep in mind, though, that humor cannot and should not be used in certain situations. This is especially true when people have been hurt or are at risk of being hurt. Humor is also a no-go when financial damage is involved.
Knowing when and how to properly use humor will not only help you resolve some issues, it may also help boost your brand’s online visibility in the process.
Reschedule scheduled posts
Over the years, we’ve seen some companies that decide to flood their feed with new content after experiencing a social media disaster. Perhaps they forgot to pause their scheduled posts. Or maybe they did it on purpose. In situations like this, we highly recommend that you reschedule your scheduled posts temporarily.
We all know it looks bad and insensitive to post happy-centric content when you’re in the throes of a social media crisis. Make sure that you cancel all social media updates that have been pre-scheduled in your social management tools.
Rebuild your image
Just because the issue has already been resolved, it doesn’t necessarily mean that everything will go back to how it used to be.
A social media crisis can have a detrimental effect on your brand’s image. It can also affect your credibility. People will question everything you say in the future. As such, you need to think about what you can do to rebuild your brand image.
When revamping your brand, you need to work methodically to build trust with your customers. Develop a social media strategy that can position your brand on a positive light. Now is the time to invest in some positive buzz. Whether it’s through a video series, contributed content or a series of profile stories, work with your team to rebuild and work on telling a positive story.
Regaining the public’s trust is not easy. It is a long-term process, and it can take a lot of time. Over time, you’ll be able to mitigate the damage, and maybe even come out stronger in the end.
Every social media blunder has a price. Some mistakes may not hurt your business as much, but others can have a significant effect on your brand’s image.
Whether your brand has fallen victim to a negative feedback, inappropriate opinion or an insensitive statement, there are some things you can do to bounce back from a social media disaster. The best way to do it is through preparation. Remember, a social media disaster can strike at any time. Prevention is the best medicine.