Everyone does it.
You misspell a word and press “Send” too quickly; you’re a social media manager for a brand and you tweet something personal to the company’s thousands of followers; you send a tweet that was meant to be a DM.
It happens, and it’s not the end of the world. But it’s always smart to keep apprised of the potential Twitter traps to avoid, and prepare a game plan for when you do mess up.
Here are three common Twitter goofs. Before you panic, we’ll also help you out with a few damage control tactics.
A Misspelled Tweet
A good rule of thumb is to give every tweet a quick read-through after typing it. Thanks to daily digital overload, it can be easy to miss that extra letter or wrong vowel at first pass. Take the time to “check your work” before tweeting.
How to recover: But if you do accidentally send a misspelled tweet? Resist the urge to delete – anything you send out into the Twittersphere (or anywhere on the Internets, for that matter) is there, somewhere, permanently. If it’s an egregious spelling error, consider sending a follow-up tweet to clarify the first one, or else just let it be.
A Tweet Rather Than Direct Message
Possibly the most shudder-inducing Twitter mistake: sending a tweet that was meant to be a DM. One now-classic example of the potentially disastrous consequences of this mix-up is Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York’s posting of a sexually explicit photo that was meant to be a direct message.
How to recover: First off, be sure that you trust anyone who has access to your company or brand’s Twitter account and that they’re trained to use it. If an accident does happen, send a speedy and sincere apology tweet. Ignoring the problem will just make it worse.
A Tweet From the Wrong Account
It’s happened before and it’ll happen again. Back in 2011, somebody tweeted from the official Red Cross Twitter account about drinking Dogfish Head beer – including the hashtag #gettngslizzerd.
More recently, in October, a KitchenAid tweeter mistakenly sent an insensitive tweet about President Obama to the KitchenAid followers rather than her own.
How to recover: Similarly to the quick fix for tweeting rather than DMing, be sure to acknowledge the gaffe as soon as possible. Letting followers know the tweet was sent in error and actions have been taken – retraining, security measures, personal apology if someone was slighted – is the best course of action.
What’s the most embarrassing Twitter mistake you’ve ever made?
(Oops image from Shutterstock)