How to Respond When You've Messed Up on Social Media | Titan Web Marketing Solutions

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How to Respond When You’ve Messed Up on Social Media


Businesses today are taking advantage of the direct and indirect benefits from social media. Yet, sometimes these businesses and big brands can make mistakes. Company social media profiles are usually monitored and used by humans. With that said, unfortunately humans are known to make a few mistakes here and there. These errors can either make or break a business’s online reputation. The defining factor between social media success and failure is how businesses respond to their social media blunders. From upset and vocal customers to employee posting mistakes, properly responding to social media mishaps can be challenging.

1. Always be honest

Let’s say you had a great social media campaign planned for your brand. You executed it according to plan; yet, the response was negative. Did you post a picture or status that was unintentionally offensive? Apologize. Did your latest social media campaign plan cause a bit of controversy? Apologize. The absolute worst thing you can do is not admit your mistake. A simple and honest post detailing the situation and apologizing will alleviate the situation. If the blunder caused quite a stir, a bit of your brand image will be damaged, whether slightly or severely. If you apologize as soon as possible, you can thwart any lasting branding harm this incident may have caused.

2. Be timely

When responding to social media mistakes or controversy, always respond as soon as possible. If you were in a verbal argument with someone, you wouldn’t wait several days later to respond, would you? By responding in a timely fashion, you prove to your customers that you care about the error or the particular issue at hand. It’s simple: the longer you let your mistake sit and simmer, the more damage you cause. Your business and brand reputation are at stake, so why would you jeopardize that by waiting around? A good social media strategy is to have a plan of action already created in case of social media ‘emergencies’. However, not all ‘canned messages’ will work for every situation. Your timely response should be personable and honest.

3. Keep calm

Have you heard the saying, “If a customer has a pleasant experience, they’ll tell 3 people. If they have an awful experience, they’ll tell 10 people.” With social media as the new soap box, that number has increased to thousands upon thousands. Unfortunately, not all customers are cordial and kind when they are unhappy with your business, product or service. If you receive a negative interaction or comment on any of your social media channels, stay calm. It can be easy to become defensive and ‘fight back’ to the consumer about the quality of your service. Instead, take a deep breath and craft a carefully worded response. Take a look at this example:

“Hello So-and-So. We are sorry to hear that you had an unpleasant experience at –insert your business name here-. We strive to provide each customer with the respect and service they deserve.”

Businesses often offer to extend the conversation with the customer to the private messaging area or even in person the next time they frequent the store. This is another best practice that more businesses should begin to implement. By proving to the customer that you value their opinion, you’ll shift their opinion from positive to negative in the long run.

4. Encourage dialogue

Similarly to extending the conversation beyond social media, you should always encourage your customers to start a dialogue with your company online or in-person. By starting an open dialogue with your customers, you are letting your customers know that you care about their comments, opinions and suggestions. Remember that customer responses can be positive or negative, so stay calm, and respond in a timely manner. Try to be as accessible as possible on social media so that your consumers can start a conversation and expect a prompt response.

5. Respond. Always.

No matter if the situation at hand is good, bad, or somewhere in between; do your best to respond to your customers. If your customers are commenting on a mistake you or your company made online, respond. If you’re receiving negative feedback about your latest advertising campaign, respond. The success of a company is tied to their brand image. By not responding to controversy, mistakes, or customer feedback, your brand image is spiraling towards an unpleasant future.

When you’re the culprit of a social media mishap, remember to:

  • Apologize
  • Be timely
  • Stay Calm
  • Continue the conversation
  • Respond!

What other solutions do you use to respond to social media blunders?

Want to use social media for your business but aren’t sure where to begin? Give Titan Web Marketing Solutions a call at 615-890-3600 or fill out our contact form. We’ll get your social presence started and begin building your audience.