Ugh. You’ve really done it this time. You have managed to anger a group of people who only yesterday, liked you.
This is typical in todays world even the creme de la cremes of brands like H&M, Pepsi & Starbucks have at one time had to deal with a social media blunder.
Remember this recent post from H&M .
H&M received serious heat after choosing a black child to model a hoodie that read “The Coolest Monkey in the Jungle”. The product went viral on social media. People were outraged, disappointed, and offended.
Others believed that this was blown way out of proportion. This was not a good look for H&M and has prompted protests and broken partnerships.
What people had to say:
H&M issued an apology on Twitter stating:
“We understand that many people are upset. We, who work at H&M, can only agree.
We’re deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print.Therefore, we’ve not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garment from our product offering.
Its obvious that our routines haven’t been followed properly. This is without any doubt. We’ll thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again.” — H&M Twitter
What would your business do under similar circumstances? What is the correct response? For a small business owner or social media manager, nothing is as alarming as discovering that your business is trending for all of the wrong reasons.
Here are some tips on how to recover your reputation on social media, if you’ve made a gaffe of epic proportions.
1. Maintain Control of Your Emotions
Dealing with a social media disaster can take a huge toll on your emotions.
Any negativity can feel like an attack. And that will make even the most reserved person want to lash out.
But before you do that, get your emotions in check.
You’re not looking to win the argument, but to come to a peaceful resolution. Don’t add fuel to the fire by responding with a negative tone or by immediately taking a defensive stance.
Choose to be in control of your emotions and attitude. Sometimes a positive and empathetic response can make all the difference.
2. Apologize… and mean it.
In times of crisis, your apology… your first and very public one… must be genuine and heartfelt. There’s no shame in admitting that you’ve erred. On the other hand, trying to power through without a genuine apology can cause your brand a great deal of damage.
3. Make amends
Immediately delete the offending content and post about the error. Quickly and personally admit you’ve made a mistake.
It may sound taxing, but personally responding to complaints sends a clear message that your business is listening and cares about customer concerns. A direct response displays integrity.
A canned response is a no-no. It looks lazy and demonstrates a lack of care.
Being deliberately unkind or dismissive of customers who were hurt by your actions makes an organization look like it refuses to take responsibility for its dealings.
I can’t stress enough that the key to handling a social media disaster is control.
Controlling how you respond will help you keep things from escalating, and may even give you a chance to turn it around.
So be prepared and get your plan in place. You may not be able to save every customer, but you’ll certainly save more than you would by hiding behind social media.