The immediate nature of social media means that messing up in posts is more commonplace than you might think. And when a campaign backfires, or a member of staff goes rogue, the damage can be cringeworthy, and in the worst cases catastrophic.
The dangers were highlighted just last week when a member of staff from Hotel du Vin Bristol engaged in a heated exchange with Mitch Tonks, after refusing to serve the chef and his party, who included Ken Hom, Angela Hartnett and Yotam Ottolenghi.
To highlight the valuable lessons to learn from such social media howlers, the Caterer Digital Summit on 25 May will feature an expert panel of operators to explain how to ensure you cast your business in the most positive light and, if the worst happens, limit the damage from social media disasters.
1.Think before you tweet. It's amazing how time can make even the most succinct, beautifully worded argument suddenly sound like pretentious spouting. Give it five minutes. If it still encapsulates your point, do it. Twitter storms happen because people lose their temper. Don't lose yours. Be the voice of reason no matter what the provocation is.
2. Don't take too much advice. Your Twitter feed should be a natural representation of your personality; people go to it for you, warts and all, and not some sanitised PR managed version that reeks of filtering.
3. Think about quality, not quantity. A wise friend once advised: 'every time I go to tweet something, I spend ages getting it just right, then when I'm just about to hit Post, I look at it and say to myselfâ¦ hold on, who gives a shit?'. Very wise words there.
4. Take it offline. DMs are your friend and Twitter thoughtfully gives you a lot more space to communicate with irate customers while keeping it out of the public eye.
5. Be transparent, up to a point. If you try to hide things you will lose trust and provoke more determined complainants into digging harder and looking to catch you out. That said, if you have no reason to give further information or comment, don't - you'll just fuel the fire.
For more such tips, join us at Kings Place for the Digital Summit. Tickets are just £119 - click here for more details.