Developing content and strictly monitoring your brand are two essential practices. However, doing so doesn’t always leave you free of potential drama. Let’s face it – accidents happen! Here are 10 ways to restore your social media reputation when things hit the fan.

Pause & Plan Before Responding

Knee jerk reactions are rarely the best course of action. Reacting instinctively to your brand’s errors, no matter what it is, maybe the wrong course of restoring your social media reputation.

It is essential that you pause and plan how you’re going to engage with the issue and nullify any further potential damage.

It is critical that you engage not only with your social media squad, but also your PR and legal teams as you want to be careful about how you respond.

A misstep in your initial response could land you in more trouble.

Acknowledge Your Mistake(s)

In most cases, simply admitting your errors and holding the brand accountable for the issues at hand is the best starting point to fixing your social media reputation.

Make sure to keep the voice and tone of the post authentic and human.

Admitting fault in an official way only makes you sound robotic, which in turn comes across as insincere.

Provide Solutions to the Error Whenever Possible

In most cases, brands get into trouble with issues rooted in data, errors, or outages.

While it is impossible to control everything, communicating solutions and quickly promoting them will help your brand restore its reputation within the world of social media.

Invest in Social Media Listening Tools

Let’s be honest here – any worthwhile social media listening tool will set you back a few dollars. However, tools like Radian6 and Sprinklr have features that not only monitor your brand’s name in discussions throughout the web but they can also help track people’s sentiment toward your brand.

Possessing this sort of data allows you to do the research, study the issue, and get ahead of the problem.

If you don’t have the budget to invest in social media listening tools, fear not…there are viable options out there for every budget.

Here are a few listening tools that are either free or moderately inexpensive:

  • Google Alerts
  • Awario
  • Tweetdeck
  • Agorapulse
  • BuzzSumo
  • Mention
  • SEMrush
  • Hootsuite

Beat the Search Engines by Developing More Content

One great tactic that can restore your reputation is by beating the SERPs with different content about your brand. While it can take some time to make this effort worthwhile, it is more of a long-term strategy that could push down the not so pleasant content tied to your brand. Create sponsored content or develop a campaign that mentions what value your brand brings to the table are two ways you can employ to start fixing the issue at hand.

Take Complaints Offline and Protect Your Social Media Reputation

It’s a best practice to direct message customers whenever they have an issue and decide to engage with you via social media. You can even create a totally independent social account that is dedicated solely to handling customer service matters via social media (@yourbrandsupport). You can also kick it old school and set up an email account to handle customer service matters (socialsupport@yourbrand.com).

When a negative post does pop up, the best thing you can do is acknowledge the message and ask them to either DM or email your customer support team. This is for the safety of both the brand and the individual who made the negative post. Dealing with issues as they arise in a private manner helps keep sensitive information (eg credit card numbers and contact info) private and away from the prying public eye.

Highlight Your Brand’s Benefits via Customer Testimonials

Alright, so the eye of the social media storm has passed…now what?

One avenue you can venture down is one that involves some introspection that results in you highlighting the positives of your brand in a tactful fashion.\

Customer testimonials are a great way to boost your social media reputation

You can go about doing so by crafting a campaign (it doesn’t have to be huge) around the value ad or benefits that your brand provides. Show and champion the individuals in your company and how they are an essential element to your secret success sauce. This is a great way to humanize your brand, which will go a long way in recouping your social media credibility. Customer testimonials are another stellar way you can showcase all the awesome stuff that your brand does.

Develop and/or Revise Contingency Plans

Restoring your social media brand is a prime opportunity to conduct a self-assessment once the issue has gone to the wayside. Meet with team members in social media, legal, and PR to identify what could have been done better and how to prevent future complications.

Not re-evaluating your current contingency response plans only limits you and perhaps causes a larger complication.

Review Your Business Operations

It’s not a social media problem if moderate to severe complaints are a regular occurrence and share similar themes. Instead, it is a business operations problem.

Let’s look at Comfort Champion as an example. Comfort Champion has developed the most comfortable mattress in the history of mattresses. However, their customer support team is downright tenacious and an unsatisfied customer unloads on social media following a negative experience with Comfort Champion’s customer support team.

This issue is not rooted in social media, nor is the social team at fault in any way. Rather, the issue stems from a customer service miscue and it simply rose to the surface via social media.

In this case, the social media team is tasked with cleaning up the mess created by customer support.

Avoid Being Baited by a Competitor to Maintain Your Social Media Reputation

Lastly, don’t retaliate when the other team(s) poke and prod you. There are instances when a competitor enters a space and one of their primary goals is to jeopardize your brand. They will develop malicious content and will do anything to tarnish your brand.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but the best course of action you can pursue is to take the high road. Avoid becoming part of the negative noise at all costs. If you do fall into the trap set by your competitor, you are opening your brand up to further negative attention and potential legal repercussions.

About Andrew Roche

Andrew Roche is an underwriter at United Wholesale Mortgage by day and a digital marketer by night. In addition to his role as an underwriter and his digital marketing hustles, he is also in the process of completing an MBA in Marketing & Finance through the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University.