In a nutshell

  • A prompt response to mistakes is crucial, but take time to calm down and formulate a clear, factual statement before addressing the public.
  • Authenticity is key in apologies; avoid faking emotions or using cliches, and ensure the apology focuses on the mistake rather than external elements or scripted responses.
  • Take full accountability for your actions. Acknowledging mistakes and learning from them is essential for personal growth and maintaining audience trust.

With a following comes great responsibility. That’s what content creators find themselves dealing with in today’s digital world. It’s easier here for fans and audiences alike to come together and share their love of their favorite influencers and stars. Sometimes, though, a mistake can occur; a slip of the mouth can make the internet instantly turn on you.

Apology videos have recently become a norm in content viewing. It’s now a staple of recycled tropes showcasing a person’s attempt to reform themselves after a mistake. We live in a world where everything we do and say is put out for everyone to see. Our mistakes become visible, and the world watches with wide eyes, ready to judge. Once mistakes are out, it is hard to take back. That may be why apology videos are essential in today’s market.

So what does one do after your followers turn on you? Below, you will find what to do when your mistakes become public and what not to do in the face of errors online.

Respond as soon as reasonable

Immediate actions are important when first noticing a mistake. Whether it’s an apology video or a message via social media, make sure it is done in a timely manner. But be sure to take some time to process everything and calm down. Stay off social media while you figure out what to say. Formulate your thoughts clearly and get the facts straight before releasing any kind of statement. This allows you to focus. When rushed, emotions may get the best of you and can cloud your apology.

The only exception to this rule is when you need to collect additional information before responding — like if any parts of the accusations are untrue and you need to prove your innocence. This ensures that your response is as clear as possible.

Don’t fake your apology

Be sincere and truthful. When apologizing, avoid sounding like you’re reading off a script. It is important to be sincere and honest. Your audience is smart; they can spot a fake apology video immediately.

For example, when beauty influencer and YouTube star Laura Lee found herself in the spotlight for the wrong reasons, she did what many stars do in situations like hers. She forced an apology video by manipulating her audience in a clear and desperate attempt to get sympathy from her audience. Lee appeared as a victim, drenching her video with self-pity. She dramatically rubbed her eyes with manicured acrylic nails and sobbed into the camera lens. The video lacked sincerity and came out as disingenuous.

Avoid apology cliches

Certain cliches should be avoided to prevent coming off as insincere. Avoid beginning your apology with certain emotions, such as a sigh or crying on camera. The fake tears make it look like a staged performance. Also, avoid putting animals or family members in your video. This is about you and your mistake. And avoid the infamous YouTuber apology sigh.

Don’t monetize your apology

Apology videos are not the time to monetize. This is not about your income. This is not about your channel. This is about coming clean and admitting faults. Clear your video of any ads that may gain profit. Before uploading your apology video, make sure the description is void of any links. Make it simple and to the point. Links to your merch, other content or anything revolving around your channel should be non-existent. This is the time to be personal, not a drama profiteer.

Keep it short

Sometimes, a little goes a long way. Make sure your apology videos are short and sweet. By keeping it professional, you will lessen the likelihood of soiling the mood. Put all the facts in front of you and discuss ways forward to rectify your current situation and nothing more.

Take accountability

When Colleen Ballinger, an American comedian and YouTuber, found herself face to face with backlash after allegedly grooming young fans, she made an “apology” video that passed the blame onto others. The YouTube star released a 10-minute video, not admitting her actions but singing a silly song with a ukulele. This lacked any accountability on her part, and she was chastised by the internet for it.

Take responsibility for your mistakes. By coming forward and admitting your faults, your audience will be more likely to understand. Learn from your mistakes and grow as a person. Ignoring them will only make the situation worse.

Acknowledge it

Nobody is perfect. We, as human beings, make mistakes. But whether it’s a small error on your part or downright wrong, your audience’s feelings are valid. Taking accountability for your actions will not only help your audience begin to heal, but it will also help you heal as well. Mistakes are human; it’s inevitable that we will make a mistake. However, while we may trip and stumble, it’s how we react in the face of our mistakes that define us.

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