Mistakes Happen

What to Do When You Say Something Bad

We try to be smart, eloquent and helpful. But let’s face it, sometimes we make mistakes. Maybe you posted a rant at 2 am and woke the next morning with regret. Perhaps you made polarizing statements and offended someone unintentionally. Or you said something in jest and it was taken the wrong way. We’ve all done it and continue to do it in life. But when you put it in writing and throw it on the interwebs it can be damaging to your brand. How can we handle mistakes?

First of all, issue an apology using the same place the error was made. Posted a rant on Facebook? Post a counter point of view. Tweeted an unfunny joke? Tweet a serious apology. Wrote a blog post with incorrect information? Write a correction post. Once you’ve posted publicly, you may need to add an additional private apology if your mistake targeted a specific person or company. Handwritten notes go a long way.

Second, it’s okay to delete. But not until you’ve apologized. If you apologize without the original post it can just create more drama as people want to know what you did wrong in the first place. But once you’ve done that and let it sit for a bit, go ahead and get rid of it so future hurt won’t be incurred.

Lastly, try to prevent future mistakes by watching your mouth. If you’re prone to outrage don’t post anything until you’ve sat on it for an hour or two. Have a trusted person read polarizing statements to see if they’re too polarizing before you send them into the world. Think before you speak.

Also consider having separate social media sites for personal and business. Remember your audience. You business contacts don’t need to hear about your political preferences, and in fact you can alienate clients and lose business over these things. This may seem obvious, but I can’t tell you how often people post things on Facebook that are offensive, ignorant or judgmental and don’t think about who’s reading their posts.


Have you done something stupid or embarrassing online and lived to tell about it? Feel free to share stories or helpful advice on how you overcame your mistakes on social media in the comments below.

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