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Social media LOVES to say that someone or something (a brand, a product) has been “canceled”. Hundreds of gossip YouTube channels love to fan the flames of cancel culture, turning the tiniest misstep into an influencer’s social media demise. Sponsorships get revoked. Videos get demonetized. Channels get completely removed. Reputations are ruined. Even if you think you’ve been 100% careful, there’s bound to be something, somewhere, that someone may try to use against you. The bigger the channel, the harder the fall (Miranda Sings, anyone?)
What if this happens to YOU? What should you do? Read on for our best PR tips for surviving a cancel – and how to avoid one in the first place.
1. Figure Out What Happened
First and foremost, do your research. What happened? What is being said about you? Why are people finding what you did or said was offensive?
It’s 2019: Do we really need to tell you that racism, sexism, homophobia, etc are not okay? The world is getting #woke, and comments that would have been ignored a few years ago are no longer acceptable. Think about your opinions and beliefs. Research the “other side” of the argument. Educate yourself, and do some serious soul searching if you need to.
Also, PSA: Fake followers = fraud. Don’t do it. You will get found out.
3. Craft a Strategy
Before you go firing off defensive or apologetic tweets or videos, sit down and figure out what you’re going to say. Have others (your agent, your family, your friends) weigh in on your language.
4. Apologize – Genuinely
Issuing a statement, whether on Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube, will be crucial to starting the reparations process. The basic formula should be:
Apologize immediately, take responsibility for what happened (don’t blame others), make it clear it won’t happen again, and outline what you plan to do to make amends.
One caveat: If there is the possibility of legal action against you, hire a lawyer ASAP and do not post on social media anywhere until things are cleared up. Any apology statements can be considered an admission of guilt. You may be advised to simply say that you will issue a statement when you have more details.
5. Track Your Mentions
Set up Google Alerts with your channel names, name, and any key words relating to the scandal. Staying on top of what is being said is crucial.
6. Don’t Lash Out
Reactionary, retaliatory posts will nearly always be regretted later on.
7. Remember: This Too Shall Pass
Today’s news cycle is short. Really short. The Internet has a short attention span, so if you address an issue quickly and calmly, it will eventually blow over. Being genuinely sorry and working to change your ways in a public fashion will go a long way to redeeming yourself in the eyes of subscribers and brands.