Responding to mistakes on social media, here’s how
By Law Enforcement Social
August 31, 2021

It’s almost inevitable; mistakes are going to occur on social media. 

Maybe your agency experienced a critical incident and issued a rushed post across social media that wasn’t fully vetted, resulting in negative comments from the community…maybe incorrect information was posted; it happens. It’s not the end of the world, don’t stress. 

Understanding how to navigate and move forward during and after these types of social media mishaps is key in maintaining credibility and trust from the audience. 

Not responding in the right way to this type of incident could potentially lead your organization to face even more criticism and trouble in the long run. 

Here are some TERRIBLE strategies we sometimes see organizations use to respond to mistakes on social media:

  • Ignoring the problem, not addressing the criticisms, and continuing to post 
  • Blocking, hiding, deleting people and comments; censuring valid sentiments 
  • Going dark; not posting for a length of time, hoping everyone forgets

“In the event someone posts something inaccurate, politely reply with the correct information and be sure to mention you’re available for any further questions or concerns. Avoid being argumentative, and take the time to craft the right response.”

National Federation of Independent Business

The next time you experience a mistake on your organization’s social media account, correct it; it’s that simple. 

Responding to social media mistakes

While social media professionals often do everything in their power to copyedit, revise and read the text over 25 times before posting, mistakes will happen (especially when rushed), and sometimes it’s not even your fault. 

It’s one thing to be a part of a social media mistake, but it’s on a whole other level when you’re part of a social media mishap AND you do not respond to the situation in the most professional manner. 

When responding to social media mistakes, here’s what you SHOULD do to recover:

  • Correct the error and explain how the organization is handling the mishap
  • Take responsibility for the mistake, apologize, and own it
  • Move forward, continue highlighting content, and positively engage 

“A lot of times organizations will make a mistake on social and they’ll just hide out and lay low for a couple of days. Why do that? It’s just going to prove that you don’t want to engage with people or address the problem. If you take responsibility and move forward people will see that your organization is not defined by this one mistake; they’re going to look at you as transparent, and in the end, they’ll have more trust in you.”

Tamrin Olden, TOC Public Relations

Mistakes happen. Remember, you have to own it, address it, and move forward.