How to deal with bad press on social media

Another month, another brand drama! Although, in my view, this one is entirely justified.

You’ve probably heard all about the controversial ad campaign recently launched by Balenciaga (and how they’ve had to pull the plug on their inappropriate advertising decisions, because, yuck).

What’s been just as interesting for a media-obsessed girl like me is how Balenciaga has dealt with all the criticism it has received online.

From videos of celebrities binning their branded gear to calls for the company’s CEO to step down over Balenciaga’s outrageous marketing choices, there have been plenty of negative reports out there in the ether – and it’s got me thinking, how exactly should we, as business owners, respond to bad press through our social media accounts?

I hope you never encounter such a damning and high-profile reaction to your business decisions. (I doubt you ever will!) But maybe it wouldn’t do you any harm to consider what you should do if you are faced with negative comments and opinions as a result of something you or your company has done, whether on purpose or accidentally.

Here are 7 tips to follow when dealing with bad press for your brand on your social media profiles.

1. Remember, what goes on the internet, stays on the internet

It’s really easy to forget that virtually every piece of content we’ve ever produced on our social media accounts is probably still discoverable, even years after it first went live. This is why you need to be super-careful about what you post, and when.

2. Don’t ignore the problem

Ignoring the haters won’t make them go away! It’s important to tackle negative comments head-on, even if it’s uncomfortable.

3. Don’t get defensive

There’s a fine line between arguing your case and provoking even more negative responses with inflammatory language. Try not to take what’s been said personally, and avoid generic answers that might aggravate your followers further, too.

4. Don’t delete your posts

I’ve seen this happen SO many times – and it makes my toes curl. If you have said something you shouldn’t have said or reacted in a way that wasn’t very professional or constructive, the worst thing you can do is try to bury the evidence. Instead, try to make amends with your followers by admitting your mistake and taking accountability for your actions. 

5. Monitor what’s happening

Data is king when it comes to navigating bad PR. Plus, it’s much easier to respond in an appropriate way if you know what you’re dealing with. Track all conversations across all your platforms, whether they’re ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

6. Don’t disable comments

People want to feel heard. They don’t want their voice taken away from them. However worried you are about the nature of new comments, deleting the ability react to your posts will go down like a tonne of bricks.

7. Learn from what’s happened

No brand can get things right 100% of the time. Cut yourself some slack, use the experience to take note of what your audience doesn’t like, and adjust your approach so it’s unlikely to happen again. You’re only human, after all! 


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