Whether you misspelled a word, said something stupid, gave horrible advice, ignored a complaint, or overused hashtags, social media blunders can be embarrassing. They can also turn off or alienate your audience, making it important to recover from the faux pas and try to avoid a repeat episode in the future. Use the tips below to recover from and avoid common social medial blunders.
1. Assess the severity of the faux pas – Not all blunders are disastrous. So you misspelled a word? That’s not nearly as bad as insulting a customer.
2. Hold yourself accountable – If you make a mistake on social media, own up to it. While you may not need to apologize for every typo and misspelled word, you should hold yourself to a higher standard. After assessing the severity of the faux pas, you’ll be better equipped to address it. For example, if your blunder is minor and easily corrected, take care of it right away. If you can edit your post to correct a spelling mistake, by all means go ahead and do so. On the other hand, if it’s major, such as insulting a customer, you need to address it head on. Don’t ignore it or delete the post and pretend it never happened. Start by apologizing. From there, you might want to remove the offending post or edit out the offensive statement. Some people will place an explanation within an edited post such as “removed by moderator.”
3. Recognize that you’re human – Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone can learn and grow from them. Forgive yourself for the blunder, but don’t necessarily forget. After all, you don’t want to make the same mistakes over and over.
4. Come up with a plan to avoid future blunders – Keep a list of social media blunders you’ve made or seen others make. Now, think of ways to avoid making the same blunders in the future. For example, if you tend to over-share personal details of your life, write that down. Now, how can you tone that down? You might create a short checklist to use before you ever hit the “post” button. Your checklist might contain questions such as:
- Is this too personal?
- Is this relevant?
- Is this business related?
5. Develop social media post guidelines – Whether you’re a one-person social media manager or have several people on your team, developing guidelines can help you to avoid social media blunders. For example, if your guidelines require that each post and comment you make must have a positive message, you’ll be less likely to disparage your competition or use offensive language. Likewise, if your guidelines call for all posts to be proofread by a colleague before going live, you’ll likely catch embarrassing typos before publication.
Due to social media’s immediacy, it’s easy to make a blunder in the heat of the moment. Unlike at a cocktail party where you can quickly recover, your social media mistakes could live on in infamy if you don’t address them quickly. Use care and do your best to avoid making mistakes in the first place.