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Top 3 Tips to Avoid a Social Media Crisis

The U.S. Department of Education recently tweeted content that instantly went viral on the Internet. What was supposed to be a tribute quote to civil rights activist, writer, sociologist and historian W.E.B. Du Bois, quickly took a negative turn. It seems the department misspelled Du Bois' name. How embarrassing! How could the department misspell the name of such a prominent historical figure that could easily be Googled? To make matters worse, the department issued an apology tweet shortly after the incident that also included a misspelling of the word "apologies." Ouch!

This incident and so many other examples help us to start the important discussion about developing a Social Media Crisis Prevention Plan. For the department, it makes us wonder, what does their Social Media Implementation Plan consist of, and more importantly are they equipped to handle crisis situations? Sadly, the obvious answer is no.

Here are our Top 3 Tips to Help You Avoid a Social Media Crisis:

1. Hire a Team of Professionals - We live in a digital society where social media posts go viral in a matter of seconds, whether that was the intended outcome or not. Now more than ever, CEOs, entrepreneurs, celebrities and politicians should avoid posting to their own accounts for number of reasons. Too often, we see spelling and grammatical errors, impulsive or inappropriate social media posts that are quickly deleted following backlash.

2. Establish a Thorough Review Process. Ensure that your social media content - including images - are reviewed by a team of three to four digital media professionals before any content is posted to your social media sites. Check, double-check and re-check content for errors. Be sure that at least one of the reviewers is well-versed in diversity and inclusion matters.

3. Plan in Advance. Although there will always be breaking news or last-minute additions to your social media content schedule, whenever possible, plan content at least one month in advance. Organize and prioritize content to avoid last-minute social media posts that may lead to a crisis situation.

For more information on implementing a Social Media Crisis Prevention Plan, visit or call 301.778.8208.

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