If something goes wrong in social media what should you do?


Don’t forget there are real people out there! A common mistake when engaging in social media is to forget that there’s a global audience out there. This is because while you are broadcasting to a lot of people, you never actually see any of them. They of course can easily share with their audience as this is social media and tweets and posts can escalate in views and comments very quickly. PR executive Justine Sacco learnt that to her cost recently with a tweet about her likelihood of catching AIDS during her visit to Africa. The media picked up on the story instantly, as they often will with social media buzz. By the time she had flown there her tweet was a global story and the reputational damage to both her and her company was immense. PR exec fired over racist tweet If something goes wrong in social media what should you do?

  1. Apologise quickly
  2. Be completely open and honest about your mistake
  3. Show that you’re doing something to rectify the situation
  4. Try and put your error into perspective

In other words, the same rules apply in social media as they do in crisis and issue management in any other communications domain. Be aware of your own context and the context of the person who is putting content onto your social media platforms. Don’t necessarily give the job to the least experienced member of your team just because you think they’re young and closer to the target audience. They will need training and support to become skilful in this area just as in any other area of their job. Don’t place content yourself if you’re over-tired or on the run. Give the job the thought and attention it deserves, bearing in mind the consequences of an unintentional gaffe. Social media is instant – this is both its great strength and its downside.