By Thomas Mustac for O’Dwyers
Whenever something you post on social media harms your image or reputation, you’ve got a crisis on your hands. Sometimes, the trigger is an embarrassing photo you never thought would come to light or a post you thought was funny at the time. Anything you do on social media that compels others to question you—either who you are as an individual or your overall values—constitutes a social media crisis.
For companies, such a crisis can mean losing sales and customers, as the Bud Light controversy recently demonstrated. For individuals, it can mean losing friends or even getting “canceled.” Professional consequences may also follow. Two marketing professionals who managed the Bud Light campaign have been placed on leave, and Rolling Stone once ran an article about people who got fired due to their inappropriate social media content.
So, how can you survive a social media crisis? The best way is never to get into one in the first place.
Avoid social media crises if you can
According to an old Croatian saying, “If one watches out for oneself, then God will protect him as well.” The same goes for presenting yourself and your organization effectively on social media. If you’re proactive and look out for your organization’s best interests, then events will tend to favor you.
Toward that end, take a professional, neutral tone on social media. Double-check your posts’ accuracy to avoid spreading misinformation, which can hurt your credibility and that of your organization. Scrutinize every post and ask yourself if it could offend anyone. If so, dial it back or take it out of the lineup completely to avoid pushing buttons.
Finally, clean up your old social media content. You might think the post you made on your personal account as a teenager isn’t that serious, but it could come back to haunt you.
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