Made a social media blunder? Here is a quick guide to damage control

By Seema Gurnani|1st Jul 2016
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Social media campaigns are a great way to enhance your customer base. But if they fail, they can have serious repercussions on your company’s reputation. Customers bombard your pages with complaints and messages about how you screwed up; it can all get really intimidating. However, it is important to keep your calm during damage control. Even top brands like US Airways and Coca-Cola have suffered social media fails. Don’t worry, it is definitely possible to recover from such disasters and regain your customers’ trust.

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Image : Shutterstock

Here are some tips that will help you clean up after social media failures.

Estimate the damage  

Assess the severity of your problem. For example, was it a simple misspelling or a serious blunder? Deleting your posts could be an option, but not when sensitive information or obscene content has already been released. Moreover, deleting data from the Internet is next to impossible, particularly when you’re a big brand. Customers can take screenshots and share them with others, making your deletion completely pointless, and seem rather cowardly. But it’s important to weigh the other odds. For example, will the mistake land you into legal trouble? Was the content offensive? Did it contain serious factual errors? Evaluate all possible consequences before you even start with damage control.

Accept your mistake

Once you’ve identified and measured the problem, your next step should be to acknowledge it to your customers. It’s also important to do it right. Be gracious while admitting to your actions. If your posts have offended some person/community, acknowledge it and address it appropriately. At no point should you deny your wrongdoing. Although your customers might be upset with you at first, taking this step can set the course for making things right again.

Acknowledge negative feedback

When you establish a social media presence, be prepared for some occasional backlash from your customers. Don’t become defensive and start arguing with people who post negative comments. Accept all comments with grace, whether they are negative or positive, and behave like a mature establishment. Listen to everyone’s feedback and do your best to solve their queries. Becoming defensive will only project a wrong image of your company.

Talk to your customers

If an individual or a small group of costumers make a complaint, it is wise to speak to them personally. Politely apologise for the trouble you have caused and offer them a sufficient compensation for the same. Once you do this, promise them that you’ll make sure not to repeat such mistakes.

Issue a formal apology

If you have hurt your costumers on a large scale, issue a formal apology on your social media pages. Explain to them why you said what, and if they can understand your mistake, they will forgive you. This will help reestablish the bridge between you and your customers.

Renew company policies

Renew your company’s policies, and let your staff know the damage created by the social media blunder. Train them in online etiquette, particularly on dealing with costumers online. Social media mistakes can be costly to your company’s reputation, and your staff needs to understand this clearly.

Do not stop posting

A single incident, no matter how bad, isn’t enough reason to withdraw from social media altogether. Continue posting normally and keep promoting your products and communicate with your costumers generously. Not only does this help your customers, but it also shows them that you haven’t let your mistakes get to you.

Do not pretend that you were hacked

Pretending that you had no role in the social media blunder and claiming you got hacked is a mark of unprofessionalism. Do not ever make this mistake. Instead, be a sport, acknowledge your mistake and do what it takes to fix it.

Learn from your mistakes and make sure not to repeat them in future. Customers will continue to believe you if you humbly accept your mistakes instead of reacting arrogantly. Allow your PR department to fix your company’s image.

Got any questions? Let us know in the comments section below.

I feel this point has already been made above. So deleting it.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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