What does Ashton Kutcher, Ragu and Anthony Weiner have in common? They have all made significant social media blunders, and likely all wish that social media activities came with an ‘undo’ button. You don’t need to inadvertently support a sex offender, offend the demographic you want to effect, or get caught sending a college student a photo of your crotch to get stuck in a public relations nightmare.
There are a myriad of ways to offend others and have them question your credibility, ethics and professionalism. Okay, so you make a blunder. Now what? The important thing to do is act swiftly and respond to people’s criticisms, that might take the form of an apology or defending your position.
What you shouldn’t do is delete the offending comment or tweet, and dust the blunder under a digital carpet. The quickest way to enrage the masses is under the guise of injustice.
Having negative comments on your company blog or Facebook fanpage can actually improve your reputation and credibility. People know you could have easily deleted unflattering feedback, instead you chose to keep the negative remarks, and respond to them in kind. Now, others that have the same criticism or reaction can consider your response on it own merit.
Remember, things just don’t disappear from the Internet when you delete them, just like you can’t strike comments you make to the press or take back harsh words you spouted at your boss.
If you’re in the public eye and under close scrutiny, try imagining those parties or stakeholders that will be adversely affected by your social media expression (my term!) and what you would say to them if they found out.
If you or your company is in the hot seat, and don’t want your latest blunder or negative coverage living on the first page of Google, create new content that will push your oopsie-daisy down the ranks where it will be yesterday’s news.