There is always a high risk in any conversation of putting your foot in your mouth and saying something that offends someone. The chances of this happening to you increase with each published post and each audience member added. The number of your followers and likes may take a nosedive due to negative content, but you can use several content marketing tactics to recover and get your online presence back on track.
Find the Root of the Problem
The first step is to find the root of the problem. A sudden decline in followers due to negative content likely originates from a single post. Perhaps it was a controversial blog post that you did not think would generate backlash or an emotional response that turned into an offensive social media rant. On the other hand, it may have been a high-quality article that unexpectedly struck a negative chord with your target audience. The result may be clear, but you need to follow the trail of crumbs to the point of origin.
Do Not Rush to Hit the Delete Button
It is much more difficult to resolve an issue with negative content, because your first response may be to just delete the problematic post. Contrary to popular opinion, the “delete” button should not be your first stop. Think about the offline world of communication. When you say something negative during a conversation, where is the “delete” button? Exactly! The same principle applies to online conversations as well.
You may delete the controversial post, but the damaging impact left behind is not as easily erasable. Thanks to the infamous screenshot, it only takes a moment to save and share a negative post or tweet. You may delete the original post or tweet, but that would not stop an irate customer or offended prospect from circulating that screenshot. Unfortunately, it would generate even more negative buzz when tagged as the post you tried to sweep under the rug.
Accountability and Apology
The key is to approach backlash to online content the same way you would approach backlash to offline comments. First, you need to take accountability and offer a sincere apology.
- Examine the point of origin carefully to identify exactly who or what you offended.
- Take your responsibility for the misjudgment without shifting the blame or desensitizing the issue. As the old saying goes, you may need to “eat humble pie” but your online presence will thank you later for it.
- Identify the affected parties by name and reference why the content in question was negative.
- Reassure your target audience that you will work hard to prevent this type of negativity from resurfacing and remind them of the quality standard set by your company.
- Keep your expressions simple, short and straight to the point. The last thing you want is to risk putting your foot in your mouth while apologizing for putting your foot in your mouth.
Modify the Plan for Future Posts
Once you have taken responsibility and apologized for the negative content, you may need to go back to the drawing board to revisit your content marketing tactics and overall strategy. For instance, pay close attention to the procedures taken to edit and revise your posts before they are published. Remember, once those words and thoughts are posted, there is no turning back. Enhance the efficiency of your editing and revision procedures to prevent this problem from reoccurring.
Move Forward with Consistent Quality Content
Lastly, you must focus on keeping the train on the tracks at full speed. Many content creators that fall into the pitfall of negative content and backlash feel like there is no coming back from such a disaster. On the contrary, following the steps outlined above and creating quality content in the future will help you and your brand recover and restore your reputation over time.
At the end of the day, your target audience knows that everyone makes mistakes and can say or doing something that they regret. The key is to focus on what you do after that to turn your setback into a comeback and make amends with those you may have offended.
Chances are that your followers may engage with your content even more once the smoke clears, because they will have solid proof that you care about them enough to right a wrong in their favor without any hesitation.