How to Navigate the Inevitable Social Media Snafu

Navigate Social MediaWith so many different perspectives and ways to phrase things on social media these days, it can be easy to fall accidentally into a social media nightmare. The internet has long been known as one quick way to say something innocent and be perceived guilty soon thereafter. A quick thought may turn out to be an insensitive remark to others, or a poorly-timed joke might be perceived as offensive following a tragedy or mishap elsewhere. If you have run into problems with your social media presence – namely, saying something that has led to backlash – then fear not: we will articulate how to navigate this problem through the remedies listed below.

How Long You Have

The reality is that a social media mishap needs to be addressed quickly. Once this mishap starts pinging networks across the web, it will quickly spread and the wave of backlash will only grow. Once you have addressed the issue, you can effectively absolve responsibility in most cases. How long do you have to act? With dynamic social media sites like Twitter, you only have a couple of hours in which to act by deleting the mishap and apologizing for the error before things can get out of control. With sites such as Facebook, algorithms take a bit longer to spread content; you likely have about 12 hours to deal with the damage before it goes critical. On other networks and through blogs, you probably have one to two days to fix the mistake before it causes you an exponential headache.

Be Prepared Prior

You may be reading this now after a social media snafu has occurred. If this is the case, then this step may not be helpful to you right now, but it will be in the future. Being prepared for such a mishap is vital in responding effectively, so having a game plan set forth prior is just good common sense. Having a generic prepared statement, a template ready for any and all press releases and letters ready to be emailed to any customers that were involved is always a good idea. It is also wise to have a game plan that features answers to commonly asked questions in the event of a mishap (“How did this happen? Who is responsible? What will be done to prevent this in the future?”).

Train Your Workers

With people on different pages in the aftermath of a social media crisis, more damage can be done than was initially expected. Because of this, it is always a good idea to have your workers ready to respond in a uniform way. Your employees may receive calls at work about the mishap, including calls from the media. By having them go over the plan outlined above that has been put into place, you’ll be able to keep anyone from saying anything that could further exacerbate the problem. If you do not have a plan together already, then be sure to start pinging networks across your business with a uniform instruction for employees to provide “no comment” and to re-direct any inquiries to a point person (either yourself, or someone in HR if you are a larger business).

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