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If you don’t watch YouTube, then you will have missed on the biggest downfalls and comebacks, both of which took place over just one week. A group of beauty influencers (the biggest in the business – including James Charles, with 15M followers) became embroiled in an argument that resulted in Charles losing 3 million subscribers in a matter of days. He bounced back big-time, gaining back what he lost in a matter of two or three days. Considering that beauty influencers are raking in millions of dollars a year from YouTube view alone, losing so many followers can be a major disaster; one it can be hard to overcome. If the Charles scandal taught social media marketers one thing, it is that good PR – and making the right statement at the right time – can literally save a career in a matter of hours.

Strike While The Iron is Hot

Not everyone can get back all their followers or customers quite as quickly. Complaint Base Business Reviews and other customer-centric review sites, for instance, will instantly publish a customer’s experiences with a company, and many potential customers will check this and similar feedback sites prior to committing to your products or services. When audiences comment, like, or share a negative post, it can become viral in a matter of hours. Research shows that 47% of people use social media to make the first complaint. Companies, therefore, need to react quickly and efficiently, answer public complaints publicly and displaying a sincere commitment to offering disgruntled clients a satisfying solution. In the long-term, companies should fix the flaws in goals, roles, or procedures that have led to the complaint/s.

Have Realistic Expectations

Some social media faux pas can be major. Think the 2017 United Airlines video showing passengers being forcibly removed from the plane. It is easy to see how customers could be wary to book a ticket after viewing this material. Others are smaller. For instance, McDonald’s Twitter account was once hacked to send out negative Tweets against the President. In this case, the company clearly committed no mistakes in terms of its products or services. Rather, it was the victim of hacking – something that customers quickly and completely understood. Depending on the nature of the allegation made against you on social media, it may take weeks, or even months, to build your brand back up. If the allegation is true, then a well-timed apology Tweet and a commitment to changing either attitudes, procedures, or company rules, will have to be sincerely displayed. Accept that it may take your followers or customers time to ‘forgive and forget’.

Highlighting The Positive

Once the embers of a social media disaster have calmed down, it is time to get back to what you do best. If you are a YouTube influencer, get back to producing cracking content of the style your followers love. If you are a company and your commitment to clients has been called into question, work on your customer loyalty strategy through rewards. If customer service has been a problem, use social media to highlight key changes you have made to improve the customer experience.

When dealing with a social media scandal, fix what you can quickly. If you or your audiences need more time to deal with an incident, behavior, or comment you regret, issue and apology and take the time you need to recoup. When you return, make it all about the positive and use your channels to point out why your brand is still solid, customer-focused, and committed to providing real value and making a positive difference in your clients’ lives.