Modern technology has changed the way people view brands and has opened up a whole new arena for brands and public figures alike to make mistakes. Very rarely does a social media mistake go unnoticed. In the past years, public figures have lost jobs over tweets and brands have faced serious backlash for posts that were in poor taste.
So in today’s digital landscape, what can a brand do to avoid making a mistake that can lead to negative headlines?
If you schedule your social media posts ahead of time the best practice is to review it each day before it goes live. This may seem like a redundant or tedious task but there have been situations where an unexpected natural disaster or event happened and a company had scheduled a tweet that used figures of speech that were inappropriate given the events. Often times, brands find themselves under a microscope
Just because a topic is trending, doesn’t mean you need to post about it. If you do choose to join in on a hashtag or holiday, make sure you research what it’s about first. For example, Digiorno’s once tried to gain engagement by joining in on a trending Twitter hashtag #WhyIStayed.
Digiorno’s used this as an opportunity to crack a joke, but users were quick to respond with their distaste because the intention of this hashtag was intended to be a space where users could share their stories of domestic abuse. Given the severity of the topic, it was not an appropriate space to be making jokes or try to advertise your brand.
Sending out a tweet or making an Instagram post can seem like a harmless way to engage with consumers but there is a fine line between what is appropriate for a brand to say or do. If you’ve found your brand in hot water for something you posted on social media, here are a few ways you can try to minimize damage and bounce back from the situation.
First things first, APOLOGIZE. Consumers know that brands make mistakes. Rather than just deleting the post and not addressing it, the best practice is to address the situation head on and be as transparent about the situation as possible. Some brands even take it an extra step further and extend personal apologies to those who have voiced concern. Taking accountability and addressing the fact that a mistake was made is crucial in regaining trust from consumers.
Do your research and recognize when it is and is not appropriate for your brand to chime in. If it isn’t directly relevant to your company or product, truly consider the meaning of the event or trending topic. If there is an upcoming holiday, consider the value your post about it would bring to users and the relevance to your brand.
If there is one key takeaway from this blog post it is, if you have to ask yourself if it’s appropriate, it’s probably best not to post it.