What Do You Do When Social Media Posts Go Bad?

With the election just days away, I’ve been answering this question a little more frequently than I would like to. Of course, I always counsel clients to stay away from politics (unless it’s part of their business) but this year it seems like people just can’t help themselves. At the same time, I’ve noticed the most innocent of actions – not related to politics go bad as well. In fact, on Halloween night my phone rang at 8:30 p.m. with a friend wanting some social media guidance. Based on the situation, my guidance might vary. But the following is what I suggested.

  1. Was she there, did she witness what people were posting about? Answer: no. So first, she has to collect information before she knows how to respond.
  2. Did she know the person who was upset? Answer: no, and she was not ‘friends’ with the person making the posts, so she couldn’t see them first hand.
  3. Where was the angry post made? Personal feed, public group or private group? Answer: private group, and she was not a member, but someone in her organization was.
  4. I suggested she try to join the group to view the posts. That request was not granted.
  5. Then I suggested she Private Message the person and ask them to contact her providing a number. And, that didn’t work.
  6. Since those methods didn’t work, we asked the person who was a member of the group, to suggest they contact the organization and talk through the issue.
  7. In the meantime, there were additional posts in support of the organization. (If you build a great community, they will come to your defense.)

The resolution: After threats of coming by the organization, and threats of filing a police report, the offended party did the right thing and picked up the phone. An apology was made, and a resolution reached. Granted it doesn’t always work out this way, but my moral to the story is – it’s always good to try and talk through an issue on the phone instead of continuing posting about it. And, sometimes, I repeat, sometimes, your followers will come to your defense and plead your case for you.

If you have questions about social media or a crisis situation in general, feel free to give me a call. I work with organizations on having a crisis communications plan in place. And, if you’ve looked at my LinkedIn profile you will know that I’ve worked through some fairly difficult crisis situations in my career.


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