The instant connection that social media provides is amazing. With just a few clicks of the mouse, you are able to interact with all your friends, family members, customers, prospects, and others. Unfortunately, this instant connection has a downside as well. How many times have you forgotten to log out of your social account and have posted personal information assuming that you are on your personal page? This is a common mistake that most employees make at some point of time.
While some mess-ups are not so harmful, others can severely affect your brand name. For example; if your employee posts a funny joke on your company’s page, it may not be considered as a big blunder. Your followers may not even realize that it is posted mistakenly. Some may even enjoy the joke and share it further. But, if your employee posts ‘unwanted content’ like adult jokes or jokes that can hurt a community, culture, tradition, region, gender, and others, it is a big blunder. Such post may affect your company’s image. It may invite a lot of criticism. People may react negatively and may even sue you!
Usually, inappropriate opinion, insensitive statements, and untimely news lead to major social media disasters. In the recent past, we all have noticed a lot of disasters happening on social sites. Jokes about the Malaysian plane crash, inappropriate opinion about governance, baseless statements about ISIS attacks, celebrities criticizing each other; these controversies are floating across all social platforms. Many of them are intentional and many are just careless actions. Unfortunately, disasters do happen. Even after being extremely careful, you cannot completely avoid them. Some day or other you will create some kind of controversy that will affect your brand seriously. Start preparing your disaster management plan right away so that you can act sensibly when needed, instead of panicking. Here are some helpful tips that you must keep in mind.
Own your mistakes instead of reacting as if nothing happened
This is the first thing that you should do when you have created a controversy. Mistakes are natural; after all we are human beings. But, you should be bold enough to accept your mistake and immediately rectify it. If you have posted an offensive comment or have criticized your competitors, make sure you apologies and delete the post, instead of leaving it as it is and reacting as if nothing happened.
Don’t panic; customers will react negatively, but you should stay calm. Tell your customers that you completely understand why they are upset. Tell them that you regret your action. This will make them realize how serious you are about them and about your business. Never attempt to argue over your mistake or justify it in any way. Apologies and move forward.
Stay calm and respond sensibly
Most businesses, even the big brands, are not prepared for controversies. So, when they land up in trouble, they have no clue how to deal with it. You may feel nervous and may end up responding in a wrong way. This knee-jerk reaction isn’t going to help. Moreover, it may further escalate the issue. I, therefore, strongly suggest you that you must train your social media team on how they should react when they face a crisis. As soon as you realize your mistake, call up the entire team and carefully decide how you need to respond to your followers. The response has to be well crafted so that it convinces your followers.
Act fast, but act sensibly
Sure, you need to react to your offensive post, delete it, and apologies. But, make sure you don’t take days to do this. As soon as you realize that you have created a controversy, log on to your account and find out how your network has reacted to it. Keep a track of the reaction. Meanwhile, prepare your apology statement and post it as quickly as possible. The sooner you apologies, the less criticism you will invite. Make sure you respond to people personally and react to their comments and posts.
Most disasters are manageable. We human beings have a tendency to forget and forgive everything. At first, you may feel that you will not be able survive the crisis but, thankfully, in most cases you will be able to rebuild your image.