Content Marketing, Social Media

PR Nightmare: How To Handle A Bad Response on Social Media

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Businesses are often heralded as masters of social media. Some companies are able to make advertisements feel like valuable content for their customers. As a small company, this can make it seem like social media is quite easy to use. However, it’s not always as easy as it looks.

Mistakes on social media don’t have to be disastrous for your brand. The way you handle the crisis shapes the outcome.

An Honest Mistake

People respond better to an apology than denial. One blunder brands sometimes make: posting content that receives backlash, and then deleting it to pretend like it never happened. Releasing a statement that explains your honest intent is a much better way to handle this. Every mistake is a chance for users to give you feedback about how you can improve for the future. Of course, some people will respond badly to this, but you can limit this by working hard to make sure that your statement sounds sincere. 

Make Positive Change

Racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination run rampant around the web. Some of it is intentional. And some of it is the result of ignorance, learned behaviors, and a lack of personal accountability.

When someone tells you that you’ve acted or spoken offensively, “agree to disagree” and “can’t please everyone” are not productive approaches. You can’t discount what other people think when they see your content just because it’s negative. Rather than pushing back and deflecting the blame elsewhere (“people are overly sensitive these days,” “they’re just a snowflake,” “it was obviously a joke, so there’s no problem”), showing that you’re making positive change is the way to solve an issue like this. But you can’t just play lipservice and be a performative ally. You have to do real work through your posts, business practices, or the events/causes you decide to take part in.

Another positive change you can make is to work with an online reputation management agency to boost and improve your personal and business brand. Mistakes happen and you have to be willing to put in the work to turn your situation around for the better. The experts can help you take control of your online reputation and ensure a successful outcome where people trust you again. It’s all about repairing the damage that has already been done. After that, implementing new strategies will ensure you can strengthen and improve your reputation over time.

Getting Some Social Media or Legal Help

Social media issues can often snowball out of control. Small businesses often struggle to make sure they are taking the right steps. Of course, you don’t have to tackle an issue like this on your own if you look for the right support. Legal firms like have the experts on hand to help with PR nightmares. This sort of service can get expensive with big issues, though this can be worth the money if you’re able to get out of the hole you’ve been caught in.

Getting a bad response to a post doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Some companies are even able to turn this sort of thing to their advantage. In most cases, though, simply being a good business person will be enough to keep you out of trouble.

Amanda’s personal recommendation: pick up a copy of Social Media For Writers. Besides being an invaluable guide for writers and nonwriters alike, the second edition has a section dedicated to crisis management. Another inexpensive learning resource is Likeable Social Media. (These are affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase. While clicking these links won’t cost you any extra money, they will help us keep this site up and running! Please check out our disclosure policy for more details.)

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