We’ve all had it happen before. Maybe on the way to a job interview, on a first date, it might even be happening to you right now. Sometimes there’s a good reason, but sometimes it just sneaks up on you and bam, there it is: sweaty armpits.
Those pit stains are like your mistakes in social media. It happens fast; it’s embarrassing; and there’s no way to cover it up.
It’s also 100% natural. And it happens to everyone. The question is? How do you react?
Stop Hiding it. You’re Only Making it Worse
Our natural reaction to sweaty armpits – or mistakes made in social media – is to cover it up. We fold our arms, we avoid raising our hands, and we act like nothing is happening.
But you know how it goes: The more you try to hide it, the worse it gets, and the more embarrassing it is when you finally are called out when the pit stain gets too big to conceal.
Don’t Skimp on that Layer of Protection
Before the perspiration, let’s talk preparation. This means operating in full disclosure – letting your audience and the general public know who you are, and what your affiliation is to the brand you’re representing.
It means having a disclaimer and letting people know that the point of view you express belong to you and you alone. Sure, you’re representing the company, but first and foremost, you are a fallible human being, saying human things. Sometimes, they may be subject to human error.
It also means establishing guidelines and sticking to them. Sure, you’re human, and you’re expressing your opinion, but you’re expressing them within a set of rules so you can avoid sticky situations before they start.
And finally, it means having a disaster plan that spells out how to respond if the sweat starts to seep and your Right Guard gets caught off guard.
Dude, You’re Kind of Grossing Me Out, What Does this Have to Do with Social Media Authenticity?
Don’t sweat it (HA!), there’s a point: Social media provides an opportunity to be real on behalf of your brand. And being real means being human and being ready to act like one. People will forgive you, but first you’ve got to:
Own up to it: Beat the people who will point out your perspiration to the punch. Acknowledge you’ve got something embarrassing going on and make light of it. It’ll show that you’re human, you have a sense of humor, and you’re not arrogant.
Your service site is having problems with up-time? Let people know you’re aware of it. Don’t act like it’s not happening, because everyone can see that it is. This will help curb the frustration and at least let the public know that situation is being acknowledged. They might even lower their pitchforks for a minute or two. And then you’ve got to:
Air it out: The only real way to get rid of a pit stain is to air it out. That’s also the only way to escape heat in today’s social media environment.
Be honest, candid and sincere and let the public know you made a mistake. Apologize and ask for forgiveness. Let them know you’re not happy with the situation and you’re doing everything you can to fix the issue.
Even the best deodorant can sometimes fail you, but being human, acknowledging the stain, and letting people get a good laugh can be the best move you can make.
And if that doesn’t work, you can always take your top off.
- Open door: The Guardian’s head of digital engagement on … the rules of participation (guardian.co.uk)
- Is Social Media Really Anti-Social? (customerthink.com)