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4 Ways To Survive Social Media Humiliation
Posted By Marie Alonso On May 30, 2014 @ 10:30 am In Social Media | 9 Comments
You are working your social media – religiously. Still, mistakes happen.
The poorly timed Tweet. The politically sensitive Facebook image. The not-such-a-great-idea hashtag. The clever post that demonstrated to the world you don’t follow current news. The unfortunate late Friday afternoon tweet when your social media manager forgot they were not on their personal Twitter account. Let’s face it…things happen.
Don’t worry, you are not alone. Even big corporations and celebrities sometimes miss the mark:
Learned a Twitter Q&A promoted as #AskJPM was not such a great idea when the Twitterverse was in the ripe mood to slam financial giants.
Criticized when it promoted its whole-grain cranberry scone and healthy breakfast with a tweet shortly after the tragic Boston Marathon bombing that read, “Boston, our hearts are with you. Here’s a bowl of breakfast energy we could all use to start today.” The company did tweet a prompt apology.
Her sweepingly horrific #BringBackOurCountry tweet, proving some authors, celebrities and political pundits should be banned from social media until successful completion of a sensitivity course.
Faced criticism for failing to provide a banner image on its LinkedIn company page – proving that even giants of industry sometimes need a nudge in the finer elements of social media marketing. With nearly 174,000 followers on LinkedIn, of which 18,346 are employees, Toyota still has a bland LinkedIn company page with no imagery to support its branding – and people are still criticizing.
Viral retweet of a pornographic image mistakenly shared  from its Twitter account. The image was tweeted at least once in response to a customer who complained to US Airways in a tweet saying, “You ruined my spring break, I want some free stuff.” American Airlines, which is in the process of merging with US Airways, apologized for the inappropriate tweet. In US Airways defense, the tweeted porn ended up in the company’s Twitter feed by accident.
Major corporations, including IKEA USA, Home Depot and even Pepsi have felt the bitter sting of social media condemnation, all thanks to unfortunate hashtags, spelling errors, poorly timed jokes, funny pictures that were anything but funny and even attempts at crisis control – defensive marketing that ended up being little more than Twitter rants.
Don’t be afraid to say you are sorry. Mistakes happen. Humility is powerful. Show empathy. Show compassion. In short…show you care!
If a tweet or post was insensitive, or poorly timed, show grace in asking for forgiveness and do not feel the need to insert useless humor or make the situation worse by defending your position, especially if you know your social media post was in the wrong.
Be timely in taking responsibility and showing a desire for clemency, even consideration. If you feel the tweet, post or share was not offensive or perhaps was misconstrued, share that with delicacy – not anger or defensiveness. You want to facilitate a harmonious resolution so that everyone comes away with neutrality, even tranquility.
Patience is a wonderful attribute – and can be a significant tool in riding a social media disaster.
Be patient with yourself, your social media manager and your social media team. Take the time to explore what went wrong – and why. Demonstrate a gentle cordiality. Be benevolent. Understand that your apology may take some time to settle in and be accepted, even appreciated.
Do not feel the need to shoot out scores of social media posts and rapid-fire tweets in an attempt to change the vibe. Be mild and mindful, and keep any posts upbeat and loaded with good intentions.
Courtesy under fire is a gift – bestow it to yourself and your social media campaign. Rejecting or denying that a social media disaster hit will not help you move forward.
Take a philanthropic positioning – remember your social media platforms are a form of customer service and client care. With authentic decency, accept that something bad happened and work to improve the situation. Be sincere – don’t fake it. Accept it, take the appropriate actions to arrive at an honest, genuine resolution and move forward.
When all is tweeted and done, make sure you get what all the fuss was about in the first place. Learn from the experience. Grow from the experience. Use it to generate better social media posts and exchanges.
If the trouble started because of a sadly timed seasonal tweet, be more present in your content creativity and be mindful of religious holidays, national days of observance and work to stay current with the news of the day.
If you understand what went wrong, you will have gained a new empiricism and maturity. The result: Better social media engagement and a revitalized commitment to deliver superior, creative posts designed to please everyone.
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