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A peek into our culture, personalities and passions.

July 6, 2015

When Bad Things Happen to Good Social Media Intentions

By Meredith Goette

Who doesn't love a good faux pas? From LG’s post disparaging the new iPhone 6 – made from an iPhone 6 – to the many hijacked corporate hashtags, we put our collective palms to our faces and join in the indignation. Unless it happens to you.

But in reality, no one wins when brands appear insensitive–or worse, as they fill social media channels with so much lighthearted content. Yet, social media is as essential as it is perilous for marketers. It’s good to know what to do when the worst happens.

Prevention is the best medicine, and a good way to avoid mistakes is to have a social media management process in the first place. It’s something UPBrand provides its clients as part of a strategy-driven, creative approach to social media. With this, it’s essential to have some procedures in place for that terrible moment when a tsunami of finger-wagging is triggered.

In case of a social media emergency, stay calm and take these steps:

  1. Make an Apology: There are very few situations like these where an apology is not your best, and first step. Never say more than needs to be said, but be clear, unemotional and genuine. 
  2. Respond Once to Comments: Social media is most valuable as a listening tool. Responding to reasonable comments shows consumers you are not tone deaf. But there are limits–do not engage individuals in a public dialog. Continue these conversations offline if it seems constructive.
  3. Remove Profane and Nonsensical Comments: This is an easy one. The cybersphere is a wild and unpredictable space, so be diligent in maintaining your governance policies during a time of crisis.
  4. Go Back to Normal: As quickly as possible, return to your game plan, your posting calendar and other activities. If your brand is in the habit of sharing relevant, interesting content that’s in line with your brand strategy, things should right themselves quickly.


Agencies and brands are learning that social media is much more than a plug-and-play tactic. Studies show that most brands are increasing their social media budgets yearly, and now have teams dedicated to managing their efforts. It stands to reason, with increased spending comes increased scrutiny–from allies and critics alike.

Social media transcends any medium that has come before it and is evolving in real-time. This is the age of open communication, transparency and meaningful relationships, just like real life. While the road itself may be digital, it starts and ends with people–something is said and someone else listens. Having a clear brand voice and being a good listener are true currency in this exciting new world. 


Keep Calm and Have a Social Media Process

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