When Social Media Means Having to Say You’re Sorry

Social media campaigns occasionally achieve greatness.  We’re fond of the Breaking Bad app that lets you imitate the credits with your user name) http://www.avclub.com/articles/breaking-badify-your-name-with-this-app,99373/

But what should a company do when things go wrong?

Take Citibank as an example.  Occupy Wall St protestors found out that Citi staffers had dialed 911 and sent out the word across social media about the arrests.  Luckily for Citi, Frank Eliason, SVP for Citibank, knew getting the whole store was the only way to be fair and balanced.

Protesters were posting video of their arrests, so he made sure viewers could also see video from inside the building that showed the protesters disrupting business.  httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCoVKXy65ec

It so happens he was on his way to a PivotCon speaking engagement, and he took the opportunity to talk to the social savvy audience about both sides of the video story.  Their posts helped get both sides of the story out there.


The Chapstick mishigos has become a classic “what not to do” story.  When comments about their print ad campaign went strongly negative on their Facebook page, they – YIKES—deleted them – and the comments to the posts!  People, have we learned nothing from Watergate?  It was the cover-up that got them in trouble, more than the offense itself.  Negative feedback is going to happen.  Take your lumps and try to learn from it.  Apologize.  But don’t delete!

We were running an online contest for our Dofino cheese client, and in an overeager moment, I posted “Last day to enter!”  Immediately, fans let me know it wasn’t the last day – that there were 31 days in the month, not 30!  I wrote back, “So sorry,  I have Monday morning brain!”  The response was supportive and empathetic, turning a moment of stupidity into a moment of community.  I’m not suggesting anyone screw up on purpose, but be big enough to apologize and trust your audience to be big enough to accept.