The Perfect Response to Social Media Crisis
3. Be Humble
You (or whoever signs or speaks the apology) are not the all-powerful Oz in that moment, no matter how influential your brand. You are a human being standing in front of another human being to apologize—which is exactly how the person writing the DiGiorno tweets came across. Nestle's response is more formal "PR" style, yet it clearly and humbly conveys that real people are taking responsibility, and it specifies how.
4. Be Conversational, Not Robotic
Select a voice and tone for the responses that will ease tensions, not add to them. Don't sound robotic or overly corporate. Be human.
All of these best practices, of course, apply for direct responses in social. But they deserve special attention from PR and legal teams, which tend to adopt more formalized language in the attempt to manage risk and speak to all audiences. In a world where social is the primary means of communication with customers, any brand messaging needs to be scrutinized with that audience and medium in mind. Companies that seem to have two voices risk losing the most important thing of all—customers' trust.
Nestle exhibited one other best practice worth mentioning: It hasn't fired (at least not publicly) the otherwise successful Tweeter. Earlier this year, U.S. Airways set a similar precedent when it decided not to fire an employee who accidentally shared a pornographic link. "It was an honest mistake and it was done while capturing the tweet and flagging it as inappropriate, our standard procedure," as a company spokesman told CNN Money.
In both cases, the furor died down quickly because the brands successfully communicated that a human being had made a sloppy but unintentional—and very human—error. Customers understand that, and they'll like you even more by sticking by a loyal employee who otherwise has done a great job engaging customers in the social space.