A social media crisis is a stressful time for all parties involved. It’s easy to panic, get overwhelmed and make decisions that can end up hurting your brand even further. When faced with a social media crisis, do yourself a favor and avoid the following 5 common mistakes I see brands make over and over again!
1- Saying “I’m sorry, but ____”
Ask anybody who has faced a social media crisis of their own and they’ll tell you that there’s something extremely powerful about a truly sincere apology. It instantly helps you begin to regain control of the situation and allows your unhappy customers and fans to begin their journey down the path to forgiveness. However, adding a “but” at the end of your apology is not an apology and will only add insult to injury. Don’t add a comma at the end of your apology – end it with a clear and sincere period.
2- Deleting negative comments
Unless the complaints or negative comments are filled with profanity or go against the guidelines you clearly state within your social media guidelines (guidelines that should be made public to your fans and followers), deleting the negative comments posted to your wall or other channels will only further anger your already angry customers and fans. Instead, focus on rebuilding the relationship and responding to the comments with a sincere and straightforward response and apology.
3- Coming across as arrogant or insincere
I don’t understand why, but I’ve seen many brands respond to a crisis by laughing it off, or attempting to make a joke of it. The only thing this succeeds in doing is showing your customers and fans how little their opinion and feelings matter to you and how un-seriously you take the situation. Needless to say, this is never a wise decision.
4- Ignoring the situation entirely
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: a social media crisis will not go away on its own. It will continue to build momentum and spiral out of control. The faster you respond to a crisis, the faster you resolve the crisis. So no matter how overwhelming, scary or stressful the situation may seem, it’s in your best interest to address the situation head on and respond to the attacks as soon as physically possible.
5- Hiding or purposely covering up facts
It’s very rare that secrets stay buried when it comes to the online world. Better to fess-up and take responsibility for the mistakes that lead to the crisis, than to try and cover it up and avoid revealing some important facts in order to salvage a piece of your reputation. By taking responsibility for the crisis and owning up to your organization’s mistakes you will gain forgiveness from your audience. However, by attempting to bury the truth, when it does eventually come to light, you can kiss that false forgiveness goodbye and welcome your next, even bigger social media crisis!
These simple mistakes can go a long way in hurting your brand
They may seem like simple mistakes or reasonable choices, but I’ve seen these mistakes be made by organizations faced with social media crises, and let me tell you that these decisions can have a powerful impact on the crisis and you brand’s reputation and credibility for the long-term.
What mistakes have you seen brands make when faced with a social media crisis, and what “not-to-do’s” would you add to this list? Share your comments with me below!
Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, Melissa Agnes is a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection. Agnes is a coveted keynote speaker, commentator, and advisor to some of today’s leading organizations faced with the greatest risks. Learn more about Melissa and her work here.