Our Guide To Social Media Apologies

Beuerman Miller Fitzgerald_Social Media Apologies 2018

Everybody makes mistakes, and everybody has those days. However, with the rise of social media and the influence it can have on a brand or company’s reputation, anything that is potentially negative can become devastating with every tweet, comment, like or share. Taking the opportunity to repair and address the situation promptly is the only road to take when trying to rebuild trust. Nevertheless, all apologies issued aren’t always ideal apologies.  
Here are our top 3 rules on social media apologies:

Rule #1: Do not let the CEO or any other executive make the first social apology unprepared.  

When a crisis hits, it is imperative that the CEO or next level executive do not make the first apology via twitter, Instagram, or any other popular social site without planning and feedback. Doing this leaves room for error and defensive statements that can come off as insincere or rushed without thought. The goal is to get the public to understand that you are sorry and are working diligently to fix the issue at hand. Exchanging rebuttals and insults with other social users can only prolong media coverage and tension amongst potential consumers and the brand. Instead, when creating the first response, remember that it is critical because it lays the foundation for everything that follows thereafter. If the first response sounds fruitless and selfish, future responses may seem deceptive in return. 
Rule#2: Usage of video can be especially effective. 

Authenticity and accountability are a few main points to recognize here when utilizing video as a social media response to a company crisis. It’s a good idea to have a plan in place and have a crisis response team ready to go when an issue hits. This would include any PR people of course, but also the CEO and any spokespeople for various departments. 

Include key leaders in the response video. 

• Be sure they are properly trained on the impact that videos can make on audiences. 

• Attention to detail in every facet are essential.

• Tonal inflection.

• Showing empathy for the situation.

• Demonstrates confidence, assumes responsibility.

• Speaks in short and impactful statements.  

Doing this will ensure an impactful and meaningful video that masses will appreciate and accept as a sincere formal apology. 

Rule #3: Remember time heals all wounds, don’t overdo your apology.  

With time on your side, it will most definitely repair most damages. As things progress and new scandals arise, rest assured your own mishap will eventually be overshadowed. We’ve seen it a dozen times. With every scandal there is always another one of equal or greater value that trumps that one and calls for the masses to move on. However, this does not mean that you should slack on any reparations you had been working on in the process. Acknowledge your crisis and create a hub for moving on effectively. Create an online forum, still engage with your audiences about pressing issues, assure that any comments about the company’s shortcomings are addressed and met with sincerity. Doing this will ensure that you are aware of any mishaps you have made and are actively working to repair the situation and do better in the future.  

Although these rules may seem small obvious, remember that social media can spiral and go viral vastly. As crisis communicators, there needs to be all hands on deck, when it comes to handling a situation quickly, sincerely, and strategically.  

For information about how BMF can help you with any media training, contact us at (504) 524-3342.

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