Owning Up For Mistakes: How To Apologize to Customers on Social Media


Good digital marketers always strive to create the perfect public vision and increase sales for the brands they promote. However, marketers are only human, and they can certainly make mistakes. In some cases, mistakes can be costly, but, in many cases, they are easily fixable with a simple apology.

How that apology is made though can make or break it for the brand’s current and future customers. After all, modern-day customers are more concerned than ever with the morals their favorite brands have, and it’s important to keep your customers in mind every time you issue an apology to them on social media.

Be Direct and Concise

Perhaps the best apology you can give your customers is one that is straightforward and to the point. Don’t skirt around the issue and don’t minimize the mistakes your brand has made. Instead, tell your customers exactly what happened and why it may have occurred, if possible.

Show Honesty and Take Questions

Nobody enjoys owning up to their mistakes, but customers do like hearing a heartfelt apology. When your brand messes up, talk about the mistake openly on social media and give your followers a chance to ask questions about what happened.

Answer your followers with honesty, and don’t pin the blame on someone else. More than likely, your customers will forgive if you take accountability. However, if you choose to try and blame an external factor for your mistakes, customers may lose trust in you.

Take to Social Media Quickly, But Not Too Quickly

You can prevent an issue from blowing way out of proportion by addressing it before the news of it leaks elsewhere. However, remember that crafting a quality apology takes some time, so don’t jump to post a short, insincere message right away.

You should also know that it’s important to pause and read what your followers are saying about an issue before you start addressing it if they are speaking about it at all. By listening before speaking, you can understand how your customers feel about the negative situation and give yourself a chance to craft a better response that is tailored to how they feel.

Make a Plan of Action and Share it

The most successful brand recoveries from negative issues come when a brand makes a plan to recover and shares it online with the public. This not only shows that the brand is transparent and willing to show its behind-the-scenes process but also shows that it is willing to take action to make things right.

The plan of action your brand can take after a mishap will vary on the situation. For example, a brand that receives complaints on social media after a new commercial is released can take steps such as removing the commercial from all media channels, apologizing directly to those who the commercial may have offended, and creating a new commercial that better represents the brand.

In any situation, make sure that your brand not only shares its recovery plan but that it also follows through with its plan completely.

Take The Smallest of Issues Seriously

Even if the mistake you have made only affects one person, take the mistake and its impacts seriously. For example, if a customer complains to you on social media about a negative in-store customer experience, be sure to apologize to that customer and create a plan of action to make things right with that specific customer. You could offer a discount for a future purchase or a refund for a previous purchase.

When you apologize directly to individual customers on your social media channels, you show other customers that you are willing to look out for them as well.


Whether your brand has made a major or minor mistake, you can still keep your customers loyal by issuing an appropriate apology. Even global brands like McDonald’s have made mistakes, as seen in the documentary series McMillions on DIRECTV STREAM. However, responsible brands continue to build trust with their customers by owning up to the issues their businesses face.

When you talk things out directly with customers on social media after a mistake has occurred, you can keep your brand alive and successful for years to come.

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