One of the best things about social media is that it’s well, social. A conversational tone and informal touch is a common, highly effective approach; it makes your followers feel more invested in your brand. That’s a good thing! Occasionally, communication mishaps can occur — with potentially costly consequences. Fortunately, there are safeguards you can put into place if a problematic issue comes up, to mitigate damage and rebuild trust. Here are a few ideas.

Watch Your Hashtags

While making social media marketing posts, it can be tempting to hashtag #allthethings. Be cautious. Research your hashtags carefully to see what company (and who!) is posting using them, and decide if that’s the way you want to represent your brand. Using “trending” hashtags can get dicey, especially if they have anything to do with intense or controversial content. If you make a mistake, take the post down and respond to direct messages quickly and compassionately.

Do Your Research

This is particularly important when using historical images that may predate your employees’ knowledge of news and culture. It’s crucial to understand the context of every image you post — even if you’re using it as a small part of a graphic. The same goes for quotations. Make sure quotes you use are relevant, true, and attributed to the correct person — do a quick fact check.

Be Mindful About Current Events

Making connections in your social media marketing to current events can be powerful if it’s done sensitively and judiciously. If you’re thinking of going in this direction, consider having a few colleagues take a look at your finished post before you put it up. They can give you useful and specific feedback that may lead to your adjusting the post, or trying another strategy altogether.

Use Automation Carefully

Automation tools in social media marketing can make it much easier to get the job done. They also can make costly blunders. Choose your tools carefully, and make sure you have appropriate monitoring and filters in place.

Keep Personal and Corporate Separate

Your social media specialist is likely someone who is comfortable posting spontaneously. Be certain that strong boundaries between personal and professional accounts are enforced (and communicated publicly with a disclaimer if needed), and that the social media marketing specialist doesn’t post personal views or issues via your corporate account.

Recovering from a social media marketing misstep requires awareness and prevention. Consider these suggestions as you change course!