As I’m sure you know, Social Media blow-ups do happen. Media, in general, makes it easy to mess up, and that’s why it’s important to play things safe and make sure that you’re not overstepping any boundaries.
Recently, Chipotle dealt with their own social media crisis. And as bad as it was as it was happening, a brand as prominent as Chipotle can’t just disappear until things blow over – they have to deal with it head-on and recover as best as possible. Which is exactly what they did.
But when you’re not sure how to deal with a crisis of your own, or you’re not a large enough company to have a staff there to help you first-hand, how do you deal with a social media bomb? Here are a few helpful tips that I use to help my own clients:
Don’t deny that it happened
When something bad or negative becomes tied to your brand image, it does you little no good to deny that it happened. We live in an age where even deleted items can resurface. So before you try to play dumb, think of the consequences. More often than not it’s a better plan to acknowledge what happened and go from there. You’ll come across as more trustworthy and you’ll save yourself a major headache at the same time.
One thing that most brands have figured out is that an apology can go a long way. In general, audiences tend to be forgiving. Besides, everyone messes up on occasion, right? The sooner you admit your mistakes and apologize for any offenses, the quicker you can get back on your feet and in good standing. Although it’s not something that anyone would consider fun, saying sorry can go a long way.
When something bad happens on social media, it can be tempting to shut down the computer for a while and just disappear until things blow over. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. As hard as it may be, it’s important that you stay there to answer any questions that may arise or to clarify for anyone who may be confused by the recent events. Retreating into the darkness during hard times may be easier, but it’s almost never the best choice.
Resist the urge to fight back
Social media makes it easy for anyone to say exactly what they’re thinking without having to filter out negativity first. This is an important lesson from both a personal and brand perspective – although people will say offensive, mean, negative, and downright wrong things, it’s in your best interest to stay positive. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that fighting negativity with negativity is the best plan of action.
Carry on as best as possible
This one may be more obvious that the previous tips – but the sooner you can get back to normal, the sooner things will blow over. Even the worst social media explosions eventually fade away and people quit talking about the meltdown. Staying positive, true to your brand, and on your toes means that you can get back to normal and carry on having learned a few lessons about what you should and shouldn’t do in the online world.
Learn from the mistake
As they say, if it happens once, it can happen again. Make sure that you don’t go down the same road by learning from your mistakes. Backtrack to pinpoint exactly what and where things went wrong. Take the necessary steps to make sure that such a mistake cannot be repeated, and educate others as to how they can help to avoid a similar social media explosion.
Remember – everyone makes mistakes and eventually you’ll recover. But it’s important to deal with things in the most optimal manner so that you can preserve your image and carry on as normal as soon as possible.