4 Cringeworthy Mistakes I’ve made on Social Media and How to Respond

It’s no secret that social media plays a huge role in the buyer journey, especially among Millennials. I just read recently that 47% of Millennials are influenced in their purchases by social media, while only 19% of other age groups are influenced by their social media channels. I’ve had a tiny bit of success on social media, especially in the area of exposure, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t mess up a whole bunch of times along the way. The key is to not freak out, but to actually use your mistake as an opportunity to showcase your brand’s “personality”, language, and tone.

Mistakes are going to happen, it’s part of the job. How you recover from your mistakes is what separates the pros from the amateurs. Plus, I bet you’ve never messed up as bad as these guys. When a mistake inevitably happens, you should own up to it and try to put either a PR spin on it or try to make your audience laugh in some way (self-deprecating humor can go a long way here). In short, get out in front of your mistake and apologize. Here are 4 cringeworthy mistakes I’ve made on social media:

1). Forgot to proof content — This is probably the most common mistake among all social media marketers. I’ve done this a handful of times. Trust me, it’s worth the investment of time to take an extra few minutes to have someone proof your content before it goes out.

2). Wrong pricing on a promotion — Double and triple check pricing on everything! I’ve learned this the hard way. It’s really hard to recover from this type of mistake, but in my case I was able to correct my mistake in a timely fashion and apologize to our followers before it became a really big issue.

3). Got in a fight with a troll — I really have no excuse on this one. When I first started, I took every negative comment, tweet, and survey as a personal attack (also it probably doesn’t help that I’m a narcissist). With the expansion of the internet and its adoption among angry humans, dealing with trolls is becoming a normal part of a social media manager’s job. My advice is to always remain positive (and calm) with this type of person, regardless of the platform or situation.

4). Missed a big newsworthy moment — I’ve totally missed a big opportunity like this and frankly, it was just a big oversight on my part. If there’s a newsworthy moment that naturally connects to your services or product line, then you NEED to have your brand participate in the social conversation. Standing on the sideline or not saying anything is like leaving free exposure on the table.

The big takeaway regarding mistakes on social media is responding in a timely manner that best represents your brand. Sandra Fathi, president at Affect, talks about how much time you have to respond/correct your mistake depending on the social media platform. This is what she found:

  • Twitter: Minutes to 2hrs
  • Facebook: Up to 12hrs
  • Blogs: Up to 24hrs
  • Mainstream Media: 1 to 2 days

The time in which you respond and how you respond is a big indication of how your brand will be perceived by your customers moving forward. Brand loyalty is one of the hardest assets to build and it can completely destroyed in a matter of days. When a mistake happens, don’t pretend it didn’t happen and do nothing about it. Be a grown-up and deal with it.

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