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Posted on January 9, 2014 by Julie Short

In some ways, social media can be a wonderful tool for marketers and business owners everywhere. After all, if you have a healthy following on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, you have a virtually free, instant way to communicate ideas to your fans, customers, and colleagues all at once.

And then again, you also have a way to say the wrong thing to all of these groups at the same time… not to mention anyone they decide to pass it along to.

We already know you aren't the kind of person to post something you shouldn't on the Internet, and especially not in a space as public as a social media site. But, what happens when an intern or employee does it for you? Or when something you meant to be private ends up being seen by people it shouldn't be? What about when something you posted is taken in a completely unintentional way and offends an important customer?

You probably get the point. The more you use social media marketing, the more likely it is that you're going to run into one of these situations sooner or later. When you strip away things like body language and context, misunderstandings are almost certain to take place.

What matters isn't that you find a way to avoid every social media marketing mishap, but that you know how to respond to it. Here is how we teach our clients to turn social networking blunders into marketing and customer service opportunities:

Don't bury your head in the sand. When someone calls you out on social media, staying silent is essentially the same thing as saying that you just don't care. Even if that's actually true, remember that other customers, prospects, and contacts might be paying attention, and you certainly don't want to offend them at the same time. So, make a point of following up on messages and responding to issues and complaints that come your way.

Apologize if you need to. As most of us learn at one point or another, the important thing about an apology isn't that it's spoken or written, but that it appears to be genuine. If you're struggling to come up with a sentiment that will appease the other party, try to see things from their point of view. If it seems like you might have written a post on something that you shouldn't have, say you're sorry in a heartfelt way.

Get back on message. Acknowledging a problem, and apologizing, are one thing, but dwelling on the issue is another. Unless there’s some reason for you to come back to the same challenge, clear things up and then get back to other topics that matter to your readers and contact.

Don't give up. Some businesses, in the face of a social media "oops," decide to either stop posting altogether, or to turn their profiles into sources of very generic content. Neither is a very good choice if you want to keep attracting the attention of new customers and get them talking about your ideas. We learn the most from our mistakes, so don't be afraid to keep pushing forward and posting new material.

If you're looking for more great advice on web design, Internet marketing, and social media, come back to our blog soon. Or better yet, get in touch with a member of our team today and ask for a free consultation.

 

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