How Do You Handle Controversy on Your Social Media?

It can happen to you.

(Don’t get smug! It’s more likely than not to happen to you when you are.)

Something bad happens either in your life or your business and its all over social media.

(Why it’s never anything good is for the philosophers and theologians to opine on.)

Each day it keeps getting worse, what do you do?

Lets talk about that!

First Impressions

While it’s probably too late at this point to say this but you never should have gotten yourself into this mess in the first place.

But, sometimes family members, friends, employees, or life itself can have other thoughts on this matter.

You’re stuck.

How you respond is critical and you should respond.

The world’s a complicated place but for purposes of this article, I’m assuming the FBI hasn’t broken down your door with a warrant for your arrest and the national media isn’t broadcasting video of you doing something which in hindsight is really pretty stupid.

Also, I’m assuming that widows and orphans haven’t been put out on the street because of your actions.

If you do fall into any of these categories, you’re way past damage control on social media, just go find yourself a good lawyer.

Good, Old Fashioned, Garden Variety Controversy

Now, that we’ve decided that you’re neither sitting in a jail cell somewhere nor sitting on a bed in a cheap motel eating nachos and watching TV, what do you do?

Social media may be screaming at you but you keep your cool.

Resist the urge to jump in reply immediately.

Never, ever feed the trolls!

Get the facts, what really happened?

Depending on the circumstances, you might want to consider consulting with your attorney.

Remember anything you say, can and will be used against you in a court of law; and on the Internet it’s forever.

(And, no, I don’t get a percentage from the American Bar Association.)

If the fault is yours, admit it, apologize, and offer to make the other party whole if you can.

Always stay calm and be reasonable, never throw gasoline on the fire.

If you’re not in the wrong then do the same thing, present the facts, offer to speak with the other party, and try to take the matter offline.

Let social media know that you’re the adult in the room and are willing to be reasonable.

Neither ignore the issue nor fall into the trap of overreacting.


I’m not talking here about one off, trivial, pot shots taken at you, those are best left alone.

You don’t have to chase every ball that bounces.

I’m talking about something which has a basis in fact even if the facts are open to interpretation and just won’t go away.

Plus, it has the potential of doing long term damage to both your reputation and business.

Life’s too short to allow ourselves to be get worked up by others.

Always think about how you can deescalate the situation.

That’s it for now!

Please check-out my 8 step approach for developing a social media program to get some more ideas on how to use social media.

Also, never forget to reach out to either ask questions or to ask for help from someone like myself!

In the meantime, thank you for following and reading my blog!

I look forward to any and all comments that you may have. I will reply to any comments made to this blog post as promptly as I can.

And, remember!

I do this for a living and if I can be of any assistance to either you or your organization, please feel free to call on me. Our initial discussion will be of no charge to you.

I can also be reached at

My Twitter handle is @conpsweeney.

Stay well!

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