By Michael Harari As social media has grown, brands have found themselves at the center of epic fails with increasing frequency. For example, AT&T crossed the line on a day of remembrance, while US Airways tweeted an unfortunate NSFW image.
How can brands effectively respond to these mistakes and prevent them in the future? The answer may be as simple as looking back at lessons from childhood.
Get back up.
All too often, we’ve seen brands make mistakes on social and then face backlash. Their immediate response has been to delete tweets or completely shut down their accounts. But as kids, when we feel down, we were told to get back up and try again.
Lesson #1: If a fail occurs, get back up and keep moving forward. Don’t let one mistake slow you down.
There’s no “I” in team.
When looking at recent brand fails, we must remember that there was a team involved. Sure, one person typed the copy, uploaded the image, and hit submit. But there was a team behind them. US Airways understood this and didn’t fire the employee responsible for the NSFW plane action.
Lesson #2: Often a #fail is not the result of one individual’s actions, so don’t use a scapegoat or place blame on a single source.
Think before you speak (or tweet).
Last week, the Washington Redskins asked Twitter followers to tweet Senator Reid and express their #RedskinPride. Reid opposes the NFL team using “Redskins” as its name, so the team hoped fans tweeting their pride would shame him into reconsidering. However, the Internet decided to shame the team for using a racist moniker. Internet: 1, NFL: 0.
Lesson #3: If your topic is controversial, it’s best to think twice before bringing more attention to it. You’ll only be hurting your brand.
Learn from your mistakes.
This is the biggest childhood lesson that can be applied to social media fails. Without witnessing the Internet revolt after a mis-tweet, we wouldn’t be able to learn. Without these mistakes, we wouldn’t be able to create better content or better understand our audiences.
Lesson #4: We all make mistakes. No one is perfect. If a brand fails, let’s learn from them. If it happens to you, it’s not the end of the world: Pick yourself up, brush it off, and focus on your next conversation.
What advice from childhood would you give to brands on social media? Share in the comments!