How to nail your response to social media backlash

On August 3rd, The Today Show did a segment with beauty expert Deepica Mutyala showing how to do 3 effortless summer hairstyles.  In fewer than 60 seconds she undid a beautiful flexi rod set that probably took the model hours to do and created a “side ponytail with bangs” monstrosity. As she pulled the model’s hair and ripped through the ponytail I could only watch in horror as I relived all of my worst salon experiences. The backlash was swift and fierce, and Deepica was dragged across Twitter and Facebook.

Deepica learned the hard way what happens when you fail at engaging the multicultural consumer, but when she posted a follow up apology video, she did everything right. Deepica posted an apology on Twitter, but went a step further by publishing a YouTube video on Natural Hair featuring bloggers Akilah Hughes, Tiarra Monet, TV host Kamie Crawford, and the model from the Today Show, Malyia McNaughton.

In this video she demonstrated admirable awareness and humility by asking true experts in natural hair to educate her.

  • She didn’t treat all multicultural consumers as a monolith: She has 4 women with 4 different hairstyles, and each of them had their say on personal tips and product favorites for each were flashed on the screen.
  • She was authentic: Deepica took the feedback and criticism she received and didn’t try to “be an expert” in natural hair. She approached her follow up video as a chance to learn all while having a sense of humor.
  • She won at digital: As of this writing the apology video has nearly 52,000 views and is her 4th most viewed YouTube video after publishing it just less than 2 weeks ago (compared to her top 3 videos which were posted a month ago and a year ago). Engagement from viewers is high with 116 comments (versus just 127 comments for a video that has nearly 3 times the views). Most of the comments express gratitude and encouragement for the video- quite the 180 from just last week!

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