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How to Prevent and Recover From Social Media Disasters

Courtney Scharf
January 22nd, 2013
Though social media can be a great tool for promoting a brand and marketing services and products, the highly sharable platforms offer a huge opportunity for errors, leading to social media disasters. Because company accounts tend to be connected to so many individuals, it can be difficult to recuperate from a slip-up -- sometimes even a small mistake. Luckily, there are ways to both prevent and minimize damage done by such events.

The anonymity of the Internet makes it extremely easy for users to abuse campaigns, and should be taken into consideration. Coke Australia, for example, ran a Facebook campaign where fans were asked to post comments to make a crowd-sourced story. The post quickly turned inappropriate, and ended up offending many. Though engaging fans on social media is a good practice, always design campaigns to avoid this kind of behavior. Know who your brand's fans are, and tailor posts to their interests and behavior.

Tact and sensitivity is an aspect of social media that often leads brand pages to encounter backlash. Celeb Boutique, a clothing retailer, attempted to gain traction for their Twitter post about its 'Aurora' dress after noticing that the term 'Aurora' was trending on the site. Unfortunately, the social media manager failed to realize that this was in relation to the tragic shootings in the Colorado town, and was chastised for trying to capitalize off of the horrific event. When a brand chooses to align itself with a trending topic or term, it's critical that the full story be investigated, as a post gone awry never really goes away.

When it comes to running effective and seamless social media campaigns, tact and caution is key. Foresight can prevent many unnecessary public relations disasters, but when these issues do arise, brands should directly and carefully acknowledging the incident. Deleting posts is not sufficient, and an apology (as well as an explanation, if necessary) should be given as quickly as possible.

Trend Hunter's Social Media Trend Report offers inspiration so that your brand can optimize its social media strategy for the best results.