by Jennifer Burns On 21 Jul
With recent current events and tragic news in the media each day, it’s time to talk about best practices your brand should use when it comes to social media during a crisis. Far too often we see brands really mess this one up.
I’m speaking specifically to brands, not individuals. But, if you are an individual who manages a brand’s social community (like a Community Manager), this message is for you.
While it may be tempting to “pay tribute” to someone’s death, or even create a social post “in support of” a particular tragedy as a brand, resist the urge. Sharing emotional feelings during a crisis or tragedy as in individual is completely acceptable. But as a brand, we don’t recommend crossing that line.
Here are a few tips for your brand to keep in mind in the midst of a tragedy
NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR BRAND TODAY. IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU.
It may sound harsh, but it’s true. During a tragedy, individuals on social media channels don’t care about hearing from your brand. They are more concerned about the current news and conversations within their feed – individuals commenting on the news, expressing personal thoughts and opinions, etc. It’s very likely that the last thing they want to see is a tweet selling them on why they need your latest product. Take the backseat. Don’t be a Cheerio.
CHECK YO SELF (AND YOUR SCHEDULED CONTENT)
This should go without saying, but so many brands forget to do this simple step. If you’ve already scheduled content across your social channels for the week (or if you’re on vacation), take the time to check your slated content in the event of a crisis. The last thing you want is for your brand to push out a social post that comes across as insensitive in the midst of tragedy.
DO NOT PUSH AN E-COMMERCE MESSAGE
If you MUST disseminate a social media messaging during a crisis, withhold the sales pitch. Will it kill your brand to refrain from trying to sell something for one day? Again, be sensitive to the thoughts of others during a crisis. Take a moment to think of what their mindset might be while scrolling through their newsfeeds during a time of crisis, and then they witness an e-commerce message from your brand. The thought may be there, but it’s all about the delivery (like AT&T).
Does your post really HAVE to go out today? Like, really? My top advice to brands is to just be silent. We preach the saying: “When in doubt, don’t.” If you’re questioning a post already slated to go live, err on the side of caution and hold it for another day. Let your community process, feel, discuss and heal from said crisis or tragedy. It’s a smart business move and a respectful gesture. After all, you don’t want your brand to show up on the list of #FAILS do you?
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