Social Media can be great fun, especially when you’re stuck in a meme battle with your bestie who lives on the other side of the world.  It’s also pretty handy when you run a business and want to stay relevant and visible with your target audience.  But what happens when it goes wrong, placing your business in the center of a digital shit storm?  Going viral for all the wrong reasons can be an ordeal: before you know it, you’ve got an NZ Herald reporter’s microphone in your face asking for a comment (thankfully not speaking from experience here, knocks on wood)  What can go wrong (from a business perspective) and how can you fix it? 


If you run a business profile and a separate personal one, make sure that “never the 2 shall meet”.  If they do, hopefully it’s a relatively tame mix-up – but if it’s a bit more serious, it can have catastrophic impacts not only on the business itself, but for the person who made the mistake (as seen in the Chrysler debacle, circa 2014…).  So if you’re going to post a pic of you bikini clad, sipping pina coladas by the resort pool, make sure it’s headed for your personal timeline and not your official business one (unless you’re in the business of selling tropical holidays, or bikinis, or pina coladas in which case: have at it).  And if you’re prone to firing off unsavoury tweets when you’ve had a few too many, lock it away before things get out of hand, after all prevention is better than cure.  But if you don't get to the prevention, then cure it is: delete the offending image or caption, rework it, respond to comments where necessary and admit wrongdoing if it gets to that point.  You won't make that mistake again!


Don’t steal someone else’s images (this is a topic close to my heart for obvious reasons…).  Here are some options if you need imagery for your posts:

  • If you want stock photography, pay for it. Someone’s worked hard to create that image

  • If you use a free stock photography resource, check the licensing and disclaimer to make sure it can be used for your intended purpose. for example is a great resource where you can get free imagery with the option to make a contribution to the user that uploaded it.

  • Ask permission before someone’s image from their website / social media / blog etc. Most of the time, people will be happy to share – they just want to know that they’re sharing it.


Firstly, you want to make sure you’re using the correct link.  Second of all, you want to test it before letting your audience know they need to check it out.  This isn’t a biggy, but could cost you a few clients or readers if they don’t feel like letting you know that it isn’t working.


If you’re going to reference current events, then do so in a manner that is onwards and upwards.  No one likes a Negative Nancy so stand up for what you believe, but do it in a way that inspires your followers, encourages them to act with kindness and represents the values of your business. 


We all strive to get a good review from clients or customers - no one goes to work to be a dick to someone buying from them.   But sometimes clients don't see interactions the same way you do.  And yes, sometimes people can be unreasonable but there is power in the internet: they can leave a review which puts you or your business in a bad light.  The best way to deal with it?  Swiftly.  If you have someone leaving bad juju on your wall or reviews tab, respond to them personally (many times, a phone call is ideal) and sort it out behind the scenes.  Once that's finalised, get online and respond to the review publicly, politely and positively.  You want to show your other followers that you can take it and (more importantly) handle it.  Respond with a "thank you for your feedback", let them know you're serious about making things better for your clients and that the remedy or refund is already underway.  Speed and professionalism will see you through this tricky time better than a delayed and snarky approach ever will. 


Then again, it's easier to pay someone to do all this social media stuff for you so you don't have to worry about this happening to your business.  If you're keen to offload your digital responsibilities, get in touch:


Images shot and styled by Shout & Co. for Swips