social+media+faux+pas

What should you do if you mess up in public?

Now by this we aren’t talking about being ‘caught short’ when out and about; the kind of messing up we are referring to here is the tweeting or broadcasting of a comment or opinion which might have been better to stay private.

It would be lovely to think that we’re all too savvy and grown up to let this happen to us, but with the volume of social media we now consume (and respond to) it is sadly a possibility which cannot be ignored.  So, what to do if you’ve put something out there and regretted it instantly?  Here are our top tips:

  1. Remove the post ASAP

Followers may already have taken screenshots as souvenirs of your faux pas but to minimise the spread and control the damage, remove the offending item from all platforms as soon as you possibly can.

  1. Don’t panic

Take a very deep breath and keep it together.  Calmly put your crisis plan into place (what, you don’t have one???) and reach out to those both within and outside of your organisation who may be able to help you, especially if they’ve had experience of a similar issue in the past.  Don’t let embarrassment make you stay quiet amongst friends and colleagues as assistance occasionally comes from the least expected source.

  1. Make a plan (if you didn’t already have one you could quickly put into place)

The style should be simple, well thought-out and consistent.  It should begin with a public show of remorse and an intention to respond to any complainants.  Try, wherever possible, to channel complaints or negative discussions somewhere less public like a landing page or converse via private message – avoid a full-scale battle on social media at all costs.  Think consistency when preparing for any public appearances, have a statement prepared and stick to it regardless of the other questions which may be thrown at you.

  1. Don’t simply disappear off the radar

This is the equivalent to barricading yourself indoors until the angry mob subsides.  Be available and make any discussion of the event a two-way dialogue (bearing in mind the point above regarding the shuffling of more negative things onto a private platform and avoiding the feeding of trolls at all costs!).  If the situation requires resources, then make sure you move more people onto the task; the need for additional input will be a relatively short one but you’ll only get one chance to re-instate your reputation.

 

…And if you need any further help, you know where we are!

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Rachel Hargrave

Rachel has over 30 years of local, regional, national and international communications experience and expertise across a wide variety of clients including FTSE 100 companies, SMEs, micro businesses and start-ups. She also has extensive charity, Not-For-Profit and Community Interest Company experience and happily offers clients working in these areas a 50% discount on all RDZ PR rates.

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