Disaster has struck! At least, that seems to be how it feels when you make a massive blunder on social media. For some, social media mistakes are a terrible embarrassment, for others, it can quite literally cost them their job.
Whether you’ve accidentally posted that embarrassing selfie of you picking your nose and pulling a silly face (don’t know how you’ll explain that one), or you’ve thought you were typing something into your personal newsfeed when it was actually your business account.
But what happens when these problems arise in regards to your business? Things can get a lot more complicated Particularly when you post something of your personal life and somehow, it affects your business.
There are ways to deal with these mistakes that may surprise you. Someone once told you that once it is on the internet, there is no getting rid of it, however there is definitely ways of ensuring your followers and potential customers never see the embarrassing mistakes you’ve made.
Here is some ways you can avoid those embarrassing little indiscretions:
You’ve Said Something That You Want to Take Back
We all say something every now and then we want to take back. Whether to a close friend or to someone we’ve just met it always feels like you’ve made a humongous idiot of yourself. Well that’s not always the case, but it can definitely feel a whole lot
Worse when we say those things for the entire world to make their judgment on, or at least the chunk of people in the world who lurk in the depths of Twitter, Facebook and other social media just waiting for you to slip up. At least it feels like those people are out there (pro tip: they aren’t).
Often times, it is when we have commented something on someone’s post which was found offensive by someone. When faced with a dilemma like this, it is best to consider who it is you’ve offended first of all, be it a stranger or a close friend. Often you’ll find it is someone you hardly know and who hardly knows you (the reason why your ‘cleverly thought’ out joke didn’t land too softly).
If the case is in fact that you may have offended someone like this, the best course of action is to shoot whoever it is an apology. There is, of course the other side of this that should be mentioned, and that is that there is a time and a place.
Situations like these can be a whole lot worse when your personal profile is attached to your business profile, which may cause controversy and possibly harm your business. Remember to be mindful of what you post online as a company owner, because your business identity is extremely important to maintain.
Keep in mind that the best course of action is to simply apologise. If you are sincerely sorry for what you said to a person, or rather that it offended them, then your sincerity will often shine through. If it doesn’t, you may clear your conscience, knowing that you put your best foot forward.
You’ve Posted an Embarrassing Picture
Maybe it wasn’t you who posted it. But remember how we talked about brand identity lightly in the last section? Well that comes into play here as well, as you need to be careful how posts from either you or friends on your profile.
There are several easy fixes to this one, but only one is truly the best way to deal with the situation. What is it? Well… You aren’t going to like hearing it.
Keep the photo up. For now, at least. Let people have a laugh instead of trying to hide your mistake. Making mistakes is human and by embracing a) the fact that you made one and b) the fact that the photo is in fact quite embarrassing, you will be showing people a more relatable and open version of your business.
Once the laughing is done, which happens very fast. It will literally be forgotten about within a week or two at the most drastic of times, people will respect you having embraced the humour behind your mistake.
This could potentially be a great thing for your business, as people enjoy seeing that the company owners are normal people just like them.
Of course, like any solutions though, it is subjective. If your photo is inappropriate, or revealing in an unflattering and has the potential to damage you in such a dramatic way that it could damage career growth or other parts of your life, then it is of course best to take the photo down.
D-Day (You messed up BIG TIME)
Now, this could be the best trick you’ve ever learned about the internet. You can have things removed from search engines. It takes a little time sometimes, but it is possible.
Have you ever applied for a job and had a quick browse through your social media to make sure nothing will effect your potential for being hired? Most people have. The worst part is you will sometimes find something you aren’t proud of.
Most of the time, it won’t be anything too bad, and may simply be that you don’t want certain details floating around for any random person (or potential employer) to access.
All the same, though; you want these details off the internet. Here is the harsh news: Nothing ever completely disappears from the internet. Sorry, but that is true. While you can’t get rid of it entirely, you can bury it so deep that it will never be found.
For the reason that we we all want to keep certain aspects of our lives private, Google has a special tool just for these occasions called “Webmaster”. This is a tool that allows you to take your details off of search engine results permanently with due reason.
Whether it be a picture on image browser, a link to something you don’t want publicly viewable, or otherwise; this tool will help you. There is a lot of ways you can make sure your details stay private. This happens to be the best way possible.
You Haven’t Made the Mistake Yet
Good on you! You’re here because you’ve succeeded in ensuring that your internet presence isn’t tainted by embarrassing photos, rude comments and otherwise ‘incriminating’ details. You’re halfway to ensuring that never happens! What’s the next step?
Delete everything. We are joking of course, but you now need to focus solely on ensuring that you continue to exhibit the wise behavior you have so far. It can be difficult to determine if this is the case, and you’ll want to know what to do just in case anything happens. So buckle up for a quick tutorial on how to stay an internet ghost using the following methods:
- Using the Google Webmaster tool to your advantage, once a year at minimum, Google your own name. See what pops up and rectify anything that may be out of place by applying for it’s removal via Webmaster.
- Check your Facebook or other social media profile’s settings. Ensure that every post is locked down to simply be only accessible by friends that are on your friend list. If you are unsure how to do this, there are many tutorials online.
- Always make sure your photos on Facebook are always sure that the photos you post online on any social platform are the best representation of your business and/or how your business would like to be viewed before posting them.
On that last point, a good way to ensure you are posting only things that you want seen is to go through the classic “who, what, how and why?” questions. Here are the questions you should quickly ask yourself:
- Who do I want seeing this? (Would you like your potential customers to see this?)
- What does this say about my business? (Does this misrepresent you in any way that may be harmful in the near or distant future?)
- How does this either benefit me or affect myself and/or others? (Is what you are posting going to cause offense, or any other form of harm to someone else or yourself?)
- Why am I posting this? (What is your reasoning? Do you have one? A good example is the millions of photos you see of people’s breakfast on social media. Why?)
Using these questions before you post anything is a good rule to keep if you want to ensure you and your business are safe on social media.
We Don’t Know Where To Go!
What is one of the the singular biggest mistakes you can make on any form of social media as a business or store owner? Not providing the address details of your business!
This can either be your web address or your physical address. This is a big one, and though it may not have been what you had in mind regarding social media mistakes when you clicked on this article, it is definitely something you need to think about.
First off, you need to ensure that your profile lists your address clearly in it, if you click on the settings of basically any social media profile you have, you should be able to set the address in your details section.
If you post anything regarding your business, try and leave a little footer tag at the bottom of each post that says something like “Come and visit us at (insert address)”. This will encourage customers to come and check out your business.
Think like a potential customer for a moment and remember that people are lazy and will be much less likely to look for your address if you don’t provide it on your profile.
In the end, the success of your business and the potential for social media mistakes online is in your own hands and you only have yourself to blame if you do not take the necessary precautions to ensure your profiles are reaching their full potential.
Whether it is as simple as an embarrassing photo from last year, or as serious as not including your businesses address, taking precautions when posting online and making sure your profile is clean and professional is the best way to ensure that you are using social media in a productive and effective manor.
Thanks for checking out our list! Did you agree with the points we made? Let us know and give us some feedback on some things you would like some helpful tips about!
Lucas is the Managing Director and the Head of SEO Strategy at SEO Shark. He has over 15 years of experience in achieving SEO results for small and medium businesses as well as multinational and ASX-listed brands. He is also an author of multiple publications about digital marketing.