Article first published as Social Media Transparency in Crisis Management on Technorati. A social media marketing crisis management plan is crucial to success for small businesses on social media.

If you’ve not already watched the YouTube video “Burning My Hair Off -ORIGINAL VIDEO- (Hair Tutorial Gone Wrong),” you should, it’s something we all should watch.

Not because I think it’s funny; I don’t. I love my hair and would be much less than pleased if this happened to me, but to view the way Tori Locklear handles herself post catastrophe. That’ the part that deserves to go viral.

We all make mistakes and when I watched this, my first reaction mirrored the look on her face when she realized her hair was still attached to her curling wand, and my initial thoughts were ‘how on earth did this end up on the internet?’ because I certainly don’t think I would have published this.

Then I thought about all of the social media crisis that happen to businesses and how terribly they are handled. TRESemme and whoever the maker of the curling wand is for example, had better get ready to take some Social media managers and PR directors need to take Tori’s lead on crisis management.

What’s fantastic about the video and its unintended outcome, is that she is still able to accomplish her initial goal of offering beauty tips only it turned into a what-not-to-do instead of her intended, how-to video.

This personifies “teachable moment”.

Here are three great social media crisis management lessons small businesses could learn from Tori:

Be the first to laugh at yourself

No one likes a crybaby. She published the video and laughed at herself thus stealing the thunder of anyone who wants to make fun of her misfortune. Her openness turned what could have been ammunition to harm her reputation and/or image into positive exposure and a general sense of support. What’s really great is the way she jumped in front of the criticism.

Businesses who go out of their way to protect a brand and appear perfect, are deceiving themselves. Your brand becomes more relateable when consumers know that the people who work behind the brand are human. Let your humanness show.

Take proactive measures to find out what the heck really happened

It’s not like the lock of hair was down the middle of her head; this could have easily been hidden, but life is too short to take yourself that seriously and it’s an even worse offense not to learn from the mistake. To avoid an even more embarrassing ordeal, let’s get to the bottom of what really happened.

Posting her video allowed her the luxury of showing the problem and not having to repeat it a million times to someone in hopes they could help . She now is being given hairstyling tips from styling experts who are falling over themselves to help her. Because of her proactive response, a mistake that could have been costly to fix, will most likely not cost her a thing.

Businesses should focus energy on creative problem solving rather than creative cover-up.

Capitalize on your exposure and use misfortune to help others

By not only publishing her video, but also creating a Facebook Fan Page for herself, she’s getting great crowd engagement and as mentioned before, help finding out where the mistake happened. She’s been on the Today show, spoken to Inside Edition and her video has already spawned a few parodies–some way better than others.

Kudos to this middle schooler for keeping her composure and not burning her bathroom down in a rage. Not one single expletive escaped her lips immediately post hair-burning realization.

Composure under fire, sometimes literally, in and of itself is a lesson that many leaders should learn. How you handle a crisis both during and after, speaks volumes about your character.

Thank you for the courage and transparency to teach others by showing your mistakes.

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