We’ve told you before how companies can end up making social media fails. If not, you should definitely check those out in the link, as they’re sure to provide you some laughs. While you may never experience a social blunder as awful as any of those examples, chances are you may make a mistake at some point on social media or in other marketing efforts.
A social blunder isn’t the end of the world as long as you respond correctly. So how do you save your company from embarrassment and criticism? Keep calm and keep to the following tips.
One of the worst things you can do after making a social blunder is ignore it. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. Even if you don’t know all the details of the how and why it happened, at least let your followers know that you are aware of the blunder and are looking into it. With the right apology, you have a chance at avoiding more hate than necessary.
If it was a silly blunder like misspelling a word, you can shrug that off with a lighthearted or humorous apology. However, more offensive or serious mistakes will require a more serious approach and apology.
If your social blunder occurred on a social media platform and the blunder was offensive, delete the post. Never leave the situation at just that, though. If you just delete the post, people will think you are trying to get away with your mistake as if it never happened. People will have seen your mistake and likely even screenshotted it. That leads us to the next response to a social blunder: acknowledging it happened.
Own Up to Your Mistake
No one likes a company who tries to cover up their mistakes or even one who continues to defend their offensive material. If you followed the publicity over the man dragged off the United Airlines’ flight, you may have read the initial statement that the employees were in the right for what they did. Of course, that only angered everyone, making the situation even worse. The proper response: admit that your company was in the wrong and make it right.
You can’t leave a social blunder at mere recognition. In some situations, they require a sincere apology. Take, for instance, Shutterfly who accidentally sent out an email to congratulate new moms to everyone. Many women who received this email by accident were hurt by the message due to infertility or having experienced a miscarriage. Shutterfly responded promptly, owned up to their mistake, and sent out the following sincere apology:
By acknowledging their error and apologizing rather than make excuses, Shutterfly was able to avoid any harsh criticism.
Comedy of Errors
Some mistakes can be laughed at, assuming they didn’t offend anyone. For instance, the company Fab made this one social blunder with their newsletter: an email with the subject line “[TEST] PM Tracking Test” and no content other than a picture of a cat. Of course, this mistake likely wouldn’t have caused a lot of strife with their followers, but they owned up to their mistake anyways and smoothed it over with the use of a little comedy.
Social blunders are never fun for any company. If handled poorly, a business can be burned alive by their followers-turned-mob. Ultimately, you need to learn to laugh at yourself, own up to mistakes, and make a formal apology to your followers and whomever else may have been offended.