Living with Your Social Media Regrets
Have you made a post, shared a photo, or commented on one of your social networks that you later regretted?
If you answered, "no," then you're doing it wrong. It means you're not posting enough. We all have regrets in life, and I'm willing to bet it's more what you haven't done than did. If you're in social media, you've got to be in all the way. Not that there's anything wrong with reserving comments. I think there are many people who post far too much -- or more to the point, far too much uninteresting junk. No one's ever gone to a comedy show and complained "He was great, but he made me laugh too much." Like wearing yoga pants, everyone has the right to post, not everyone should.
However, if you answered "yes" to the question, then congratulations are in order. Not for your poor choices, but for your decision to take chances and recognize your mistakes. Most successful people do both.
When I post, I do indeed envision the consequences of my words. If I lose friends or followers on a comment or photo I found humorous or important, well then so be it. But most of the time, the ones I am most hesitant about posting receive the most acclaim.
But these are on my personal accounts. The posts I make on behalf of the companies I represent, however, is a different story. Decorum can be learned, but the dumbest choice companies make is enlisting the wrong people (i.e. non PR professionals) for making social media posts. In short, the best way to avoid dumb posts is to avoid dumb posters. That's the smartest choice a company can make.
So what if your social media pro does make a dumb choice? The best thing to do is fess up ASAP. Don't blame the poster's judgement or apparent lack of sensitivity. Remember, publicly making an employee look bad does to make your organization look good. Period. Apologize when it's appropriate, and not as a panacea to make all the complaints go away.
Finally, understand that your faux pas is bigger in your world than in ours. The heat will soon subside because there are other people and other companies around the corner whose mistakes will be....dumberer.