Individuals, for the most part, thrive in the wild wild west nature or social media. One can comment honestly and sometimes, harshly on any given topic. Some platform like Youtube and Reddit provide complete anonymity, thus allowing us to be our true selves online. Even though some would argue that might not be such a good thing, hey! It is, what it is.
Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have amassed such a huge following that at some point businesses and other organizations decided it might be worth it to get in on the action and connect directly with consumers. However, jumping into the conversations of the day can sometimes lead organizations to find themselves in PR disasters of their own making.
In 2009, two North Carolina Domino’s franchise employees filmed a video of themselves doing some really disgusting things to food that was most likely later served to customers. They uploaded the video to YouTube, and within a few days, the video had over one million views. Domino’s responded by firing the employees, but the brand’s image had already been tarnished.
In 2007, a former Dell kiosk employee sent a list of 22 confessions to Consumerist.com which outlined various tactics Dell employees are trained to use to get bigger sales from customers. Dell responded by emailing Consumerist and demanding that the blog article which listed the confessions be removed. Consumerist responded by publishing the Dell email on its blog, too.
So what can you do if you or a team member sends out regrettable tweet or uploads a video making some “ heat of the moment” controversial comments?
Here are three tips to help recover from a social media s#*it storm:
1. Do not try to justify your actions.
For some of us, this is a natural reaction. We instinctively try to double-down or make justifications for our reprehensible behavior. We see this kind of behavior in some of our elected officials. Do not go down this path. Here -for the sake of your business and employees, you will need to put on your big boy pants and apologize for your actions.
2. Communicate your values
In the midst of whatever public outcry you may be enduring over your social media fo pass, try to ( without coming off as defensive) communicate your company's values and track record of commitment to said values. Reassure the public this is a onetime mistake and does not represent what you and your organization stand for.
2. Hire a professional ?
Although costly and out of reach for some smaller businesses, it is recommended that you enlist the services of a crisis management team or professional. These outfits are equipped to handle PR issues. Their services typically, include crafting and delivering public statements, Handling press and media inquiries, etc.