Photo credit: Hanna-Barbera Productions

Missteps in life; personal or professional, have a way of snowballing leaving us flustered and, honestly, exhausted from performing damage control. The same is true on social media.

You innocently post something on your personal or business Facebook page; on your Google Plus page or on Twitter; only to wake up the next morning to find the aftermath of an all-nighter filled with visceral rants and a few less friends and followers.

It is one thing to lose a friend or customer in real life; but how do you handle a similar situation online?

  • Don’t be too quick to answer each and every comment. Take a moment to absorb not only the commenter’s words; but the intent behind them. If their comment has merit; acknowledge it. If they are way off base; respond in a non-adversarial manner while remaining true to your original post.
  • Be open to the possibility that what you posted with good intentions, may not have translated as intended once posted online. Not everyone will get your sense of humor or have the same political and religious beliefs; nor will you have the same as theirs. Re-read your post as if it were the first time. Could the wording have been different and less offensive, with the same intent? If so, be honest and let those that not only commented but observed the timeline debacle know exactly what you meant to accomplish.
  • Never delete your original post. It has already been read and commented on. Chances are, it may have already been shared. Removing it as if it never occurred does not bode well with your friends and, definitely, with your business page followers.

As with any situation, both in real life and online, there will be times that we are made to eat humble pie. We must learn to embrace our mistakes as learning experiences. Ignoring them will only cause them to snowball into personal or business branding disaster from which there may be no recovery.