Social Media & Authenticity Online: Preventing Slip Ups and Mistakes

November 3, 2014 | By: Marcela Palefsky | 2 min read

AmericanApparelFireworksUnfortunately, social media slip-ups do happen. You might have heard about the graphic US Airways whoopsie on Twitter. Or perhaps you are familiar with the more recent American Apparel flop, in which the retailer posted a 4th of July fireworks photo with the hashtags #smoke and #clouds, only to find that the photo was actually of the 1986 Challenger explosion. While mistakes can be inevitable, there are some precautionary methods that you can take to minimize the odds. In this article we will highlight some ways to deal with a social media mess up and share some tips on how to prevent it from ever happening to you.

If it happens:

Publicly apologize

According to recent research, more than three quarters (77%) of US adults have Internet service at home. Excluding e-mail, internet users 18-34 access the internet nearly 20 times per week, or about three times per day. So assuming that users did not see your mistake is not practical logic. Admitting that a bad thing happened is the first step toward fixing the problem. After taking responsibility, make sure to issue a public apology via letter, press conference, or social media.

Respond to complaints respectfully and quickly

Don’t give recycled responses. There’s nothing worse or more careless than giving one generic apology to every complaint or negative comment that rolls in. Take the time to read every complaint and respond with a unique and genuine answer. Hiring a qualified and experienced team to handle and respond to negative commentary is a great option as well.

Make sure there is more good than bad

KFC’s hefty donation to a little girl for surgery after their public faux pas is a perfect example of this. If a slip up occurs, even if you’re not sure it is your fault, offer those affected by it discounts, kindness, and/or compensation for their involvement.

Prevent it from happening:

Check, check, and check one more time

The three check rule is a method that we at LaneTerralever use frequently. The person who creates the content edits it once. Then the content is sent to another person to check again. Before the posts are scheduled, the content is combed through one more time by yet another proofreader. It may seem excessive, but this method serves its purpose. Sometimes there are simple errors that one and even two pairs of eyes can’t catch. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Change your passwords

When somebody that has access to your organization’s social media passwords leaves the company, change all of your passwords. Even if you trust them, it’s not worth the risk. And it only takes a couple of minutes to do!

Hire a good agency

Hiring an all-inclusive agency to handle your social media, digital marketing, and public relations is one of the safest routes to take. A good agency can increase your brand awareness, better your marketing strategy, pump up your digital presence, and - of course - navigate the sticky situations.

Social media is huge, and it has the power to make or break your brand. Make sure your online presence is representing your brand well by taking extra care and responding to hiccups the right way.

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