We all make mistakes! So whether you’re new at using social media to promote your author brand or you’re an old pro at maintaining an author platform — sooner or later, you’re going to make an embarrassing typo or an even bigger social media slipup. Thankfully, we can learn from our errors. The social media experts know the best ways for writers to move on from awkward social media mistakes.
Step-By-Step Guide To Dealing With Awkward Social Media Mistakes
#1 Realize The Mistake
Always review your social media post immediately after making it live to ensure it’s exactly what you meant to share. This is the second-best time to catch a typo or grammar gaffe — before it’s pointed out by one of your followers (the best time is prior to actually posting it, but hey, mistakes happen).
Reviewing your posts will also help you determine which ones are more successful and which fell flat. When you know what resonates with your fans and followers, you won’t make the mistake of posting things that don’t connect with your audience.
Along with analyzing your social media history, take a look at what other authors are posting. You may discover mistakes you didn’t even realize you were making. If you’ve been posting nothing but Buy my book! Buy my book! on your social media, a quick glance through the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts of successful authors will show you that’s not the way to go. Social media is for being social — not just selling.
#2 Take A Deep Breath
Finding out you made a social media faux pas might send you running in circles or make you want to crawl under a rock in embarrassment. Take a few deep breaths, calm down, and focus — you’ll want a clear head so you can determine what you need to do to remedy the situation.
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#3 Determine How The Mistake Happened And The Possible Consequences
Did you put up too many self-promotional posts and drive away some of your fan base? Maybe you retweeted a controversial post that didn’t match your author brand or shared a meme that some followers might find offensive. Perhaps an errant typo found its way into your post about your supposedly expert proofreading skills, or you gave the wrong date for your book launch.
How did this happen? Often, mistakes occur when we act first and think later. If you don’t carefully proofread, typos and grammar gaffes are guaranteed to find their way into your posts. If you share a funny meme about parenthood and toddlers, stop and ask yourself if your horror genre readers will find it adorably amusing as well. And if you want to keep your social media accounts professional and geared toward your readers, avoid politics, religion, and hot-button topics — unless you write about politics, religion, or hot-button topics and that’s what your followers expect.
What are the consequences? A typo or grammar mix-up may draw a few snickers from your followers, who will happily point out your mistake — but other than being a little mortifying, it’s basically harmless. Providing incorrect information — the wrong date or time for your book launch or reading — could affect your book sales or attendance, so this mistake needs to be corrected promptly. Posting something that your fans may find offensive or seems outside of your author brand could have larger ramifications. Your reputation may be taken down a notch, and you might also lose some of your loyal followers.
#4 Make An Action Plan
For a simple typo or grammar error, some platforms like Facebook allow you to edit the post and make a quick correction. The same goes for mistakes in information: If possible, edit the original post to include the correct dates, times, etc. If you can’t edit (at this time you can’t edit an existing Tweet), you may have to delete the original post and create a new one with the right text. And don’t be afraid to acknowledge your social media goof-up with humility and good humor: It will make you seem more relatable to your audience, since we all make mistakes — even a talented author like you!
A post or tweet that is controversial, misrepresented, or offensive should be deleted as soon as you realize the error — hopefully before it goes viral. You should also quickly post a carefully thought-out acknowledgment and apology. Be sure you’re not relying on faulty reasoning or a half-baked justification or explanation — these will only reinforce the mistake and potentially backfire. Even famous, well-respected authors aren’t immune to social media backlash.
#5 Use What You’ve Learned
Once you’ve come up with your action plan, implement it as soon as possible. Then move forward: Look past the matter and focus on better communication with your social media fan base.
Social media platforms are constantly evolving, so pay attention to any changes that may affect how you interact with your followers in order to avoid potential mistakes. And we’ll say it again: proofread, proofread, proofread!
Remember, an awkward social media mistake can serve up a big slice of humble pie, but it isn’t the end of the world. Put your gaffe into perspective and take the necessary steps to correct the error. Then move forward as a wiser, gentler social media maven!