Wrangling Your Social Media: What To Do When Things Go Wrong

February 6, 2018

Sooner or later, something is going to go wrong online. It’s inevitable. But as the saying goes, plan for the best and prepare for the worst. Today on SanMar U’s Fabric Blog, we break down three of the most common ways things can go wrong online and what you should do when they happen.



Typos, misattributions, accidental posts and broken links, these are the everyday foibles of social media. We all do our best to avoid these minor mistakes, but luckily fixing grammatical errors on social media is a lot easier (and cheaper) than fixing a typo in a 1000+ piece print run.

If you catch the error, edit the post or remove it and post the edited version. On the other hand, if one of your followers catches the error, the first thing you should do is thank them. Then fix it.

Even small errors like a misused you’re/your can be embarrassing, but owning up to your goof and fixing it quickly will actually add a dash of authenticity to your feed. (Provided, of course, the errors don’t happen too often.)



Customer complaints can be a little trickier to navigate on social media. Due to the nature of the internet, our first impulse is usually to take a defensive position and tell the customer why they’re wrong.

In these instances, we counsel patience. If the complaint is particularly vitriolic, step away from the keyboard and give yourself a moment to cool down. When you come back, ask yourself if the complaint is legitimate or if the customer is just blowing off steam.

Go with your gut here. You know your business and your customers better than we do. If you feel the comment deserves a response, then you actually have an opportunity to promote your great customer service and demonstrate that you are listening to and care about your clients.

Reply to the complaint as if you were speaking to the customer in person. Once you think you know what went wrong and how it can be fixed, politely ask the customer if they can send you their order information in a private message and take the rest of the discussion out of public view.

Even if the customer doesn’t reply, you’ve still shown that you’re willing to work to make things better.



When tragedy strikes, it’s best to know how and when to comment on social media. If you have social media posts scheduled in a queue that day, review those posts immediately. Examine your language for anything that could be misconstrued due to the new national context. For example, imagine how distasteful a tweet announcing a fire sale would have been last year when the California wildfires were trending on Twitter.

Depending on the nature of the tragedy, you may decide to put your scheduled posts on hold. (Though in the above example, you might just want to delete that one outright.) Again, you’ll have to go with your gut here. A celebrity death may be sad, but it probably isn’t worth pausing your social media schedule. On the other hand, an earthquake might be reason enough to put your posts on hold. That way, you’re not seen to be blithely advertising your business while people are dealing with devastation.

In general, we advise against commenting on the events themselves unless they directly affect your business. If that is the case, the only real acceptable social posts are somewhat sterile service updates or heartfelt showings of support, especially if you are helping to organize aid or relief efforts.


If one thing is certain in life, it’s that things will eventually go wrong. Having a plan in place and knowing how to handle yourself when in these situations crop up can make all the difference.

But what do you think? Did we miss anything? Let us know on social media. Leave a comment for us on Facebook or Twitter and keep the conversation going.