Social media mistakes happen to the best of them — it doesn’t discriminate on brand/company size, reach, and social media marketing budget. While the impacts may differ in magnitude, everyone has had to endure some kind of social media faux pas.
But if there’s one good thing about making mistakes on social media, it’s that it provides your audience a glimpse at your company’s agility, humility, resiliency, and perhaps most importantly — your humanity.
Ensuring that all systems and policies are in place to prevent social media blunders from happening are a must if you’re serious about your social media marketing efforts. But while pertinent systems and policies should be in place, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t expect slipups from happening from time to time.
Two weeks ago, we published an article on the ‘Lessons to Learn from the Biggest Social Media Marketing Mishaps’, but what if you already made your own social media fail?
As fore mentioned, committing slipups on social media is a near inevitability — and that’s exactly why part of your social media policy should be to be prepared for the worst.
One way to do so is by installing social media monitoring tools. This is important because before you can recover from a social media faux pas, you must first realize when you’ve committed a blunder. Consistently monitoring your social media accounts will allow you to control the damage done before it worsens.
Social media listening and monitoring tools enable you to track potential crises, and allow you to monitor these possibilities from as many angles as possible. There are even special settings that alert you when an abnormal surge in mentions takes place — often an indicator that something has gone awry.
Whether it’s posting an insensitive tweet, misusing a hashtag, or having a rogue employee post an unapproved post on social media, the first, and most important step in recovering from a mistake is owning up to it. The sooner you apologize, the bigger the chance you give yourself of being forgiven by your audience.
It is important to note that passing the blame never works, so it’s best to apologize sincerely, and be as personal as you can in doing so while acknowledging the impact your mistake may have had on affected parties.
People are on social media to connect with other people and brands — owning up to a mistake and acknowledging the effects of that mistake can sometimes even give your brand a human touch — and make your error, and the way you respond to it, something everyone can relate to.
When you commit a social media blunder, it is important to own up to it and apologize quickly. This gives off the impression not only that your brand is sincere, but that you are a company that is able to handle such a situation with grace.
As noted by Sandra Fathi, president of communications firm Affect, you are allowed only a limited amount of time to respond once you commit a social media blunder (minutes and up to only two hours on Twitter; and up to 12 hours on Facebook).
Waiting to act too long not only gives the mistake more time to go viral, it also gives off the impression that you are not aware of the issue, or worse, are not that concerned. There is just no plausible scenario where holding off an apology doesn’t give your brand a bad look. Act swiftly, but carefully.
It’s been established that mistakes are virtually unavoidable. One thing you can avoid though — not learning from your mistakes.
In the case of social media, a digital faux pas should serve as a wakeup call to either upskill your social media staff, instill rigid social media guidelines (such as avoiding posting about politics, religion, tragedies, and other sensate topics), or use better social media management systems. Whichever applies to you, make sure that you act to prevent similar mistakes from occurring in the future.
Making an oversight or lapse in judgment is one thing (and bad enough), repeating them is another (and far worse).
If you manage to nip a crisis in the bud; are able to admit to the mistake quickly; and apologize sincerely and personally, the next step is to operate social media business as usual. If you want your audience to move on from your mistake, then you have to set the example and keep moving forward.
So whether it’s producing and posting content, sharing useful information, or driving leads thru social media, get back at it — both your brand and your audience will benefit from having a forward-thinking mindset.
The growth and development of social media as a marketing tool have provided brands with the ability to humanize their marketing efforts. And while it is virtually impossible to avoid making social media gaffes, it is the same humanizing element that will enable you to recover and bounce back when it’s your turn to make a mistake.
The most social media savvy brands are able to make their response and resiliency from committing blunders what defines them, and not the mistake. When done correctly, you can even use a social media mistake to your advantage — by turning it into an incident that makes your brand, and your company as a whole, more human — and in turn, more relatable than ever.