Everyone is excited about the benefits and opportunities that come with Social Media. Especially for small business and Non-profits. Suddenly, we feel empowered – like we’re able to compete on the same level as “the big boys”. “We can do a blog…”, “I can make a Facebook page…”, “Twitter – Done”.
Not only can multiple posts be submitted, but also from a workflow perspective, we can have several people within the organization creating and posting content, updates, event information, etc. This allows for less of a chance for a bottleneck related to the information – yet another benefit. Suddenly, you’re starting to hear that famous line, “If you build it, they will come”.
But what if they DO come… but on the wrong day because the post on your Facebook page said “Thursday” rather than the “Thirteenth”?
How do you handle the situation when the Facebook post has wrong information or the Tweet has incorrect details?
The following was my response to a Social Media Slip with the non-profit I work with.
Step 1: Fix it. It does not matter who or why or how, just fix the information. But this brings up an important second question. How do you fix it?
Step 2: Remember this is “Social” media. In our case, the person who made the post, went in and the information (Good) and then deleted the comment from an individual frantically asking if the information was correct “…the meeting is TONIGHT?!?” (Bad). In social media, we have the opportunity to not just “fix it” but “make it right”.
“Fix it” is Joe Friday, “Just the facts ma’am”, where “Make it right” allows us to turn a mistake (or complaint) into an opportunity to engage the member/supporter/customer.
Step 3: Talk with them and be honest. By simply explaining the error, making the correction and apologizing, it would have resolved the matter (the facts) but also would have created a conversation between our customer and us. One that would have been received well, but also brought additional attention to the event being promoted (and extra bonus).
When we just go all Joe Friday on it and then “hide the evidence”, it begins to compromise the integrity of the organization. (“What else are you deleting or not telling us?”) True, in our situation, the post had just gone up. True also, there was “just one” comment. But really, does that matter? No one likes to make a mistake – especially a public mistake, but you can always work towards the “lemons to lemonade” idea.
This is even more important in our situation since there had been a history of lack of communication and miscommunication with no follow through or correction. Folks were left frustrated and confused. Engaging, correcting and making it right are even more critical to show how things are different now. Reputation can be a two-edged sword. If you have a good reputation, if you make a mistake, folks are quick to forgive and forget. If you have a poor reputation, the smallest mistake can elicit a knee jerk reaction, “here we go again”. When you are trying to rebuild a reputation, folks will watch your every step.
Step 4: Education. Make sure you and your staff knows how to respond to these types of mistakes. Talk about them ahead of time. Have a plan. Do not respond to the emotion (or with emotion for that matter), rather, just go make it right.
What suggestions would you make? How do you handle social media mistakes?