When Tragedy Strikes… Important Etiquette for your Social Media Campaign
We live in a very instant information technology driven world. Unfortunately, we also live in a world where tragic events occur too often.
With the number of tools and resources we have at our finger tips that allow us to schedule posts and tweets weeks in advance, we can quickly forget about those posts when tragedy arises.
Although it may not be the top priority on your list at that time, it would be in good form to review your editorial calendar and schedule posts to ensure that nothing is in bad taste to the current situation.
Reschedule posts as you see fit. A time of tragedy is not a time to market your business, promote a service, or even share a helpful tip.
Rather, acknowledge the tragedy and extend your empathy and condolences to those who have been affected.
Do you have any paid ads on social media sites displaying? How do those look in regards to the tragedy? It might be a good idea to temporarily pause your ad campaigns online.
How about a scheduled email or blog post? At this tragic time, your audience probably is not interested in what you have to say. Hold off a day or two in order to let the dust settle from the emotional event.
All of these items on your social media channels should be reviewed immediately in order to remain sensitive to the current event.
How to react if something is posted on your account accidentally
We’ve seen this happen before. A scheduled post goes live shortly after a tragic event. A number of comments are displayed in disapproval of the post. Rather than just deleting the post altogether, acknowledge the wrongdoing and apologize publicly for the actions.
During the tragic event, Twitter is often the mainstream news funnel. Read your retweets. If there is a link that you are retweeting, make sure that the information you are sharing related to that tragedy is accurate and not false or misleading information. Oftentimes, false information is spread quicker than the real story.
If you have posted false information, correct it immediately. Post the accurate information to maintain your credibility.
Do not exploit the tragedy for your benefit
In 2012, the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut was horrific to say the least. Yet, a young aspiring rapper used this opportunity to grow his personal Facebook page by changing the name of the page to “R.I.P. Sandy Hook Elementary School Children” the Facebook page no longer exists.
K-Mart sent a tweet with their condolences to the family, including a hashtag #Fab15Toys. They later apologized for this event and tried to explain that they used the hashtag to notify the followers of the tragic event that took place. Regardless of their true reasonings behind the use of the hashtag, it was viewed negatively at the time it happened and not everyone hears the apology, the majority of people will only hear the negative side of the story.
Just don’t do it. You will receive negative publicity for your actions. There are ethical ways to grow your audience via social media, do not use a national tragedy as an opportunity to capitalize on growth and audience.
Rather be a genuine human being and show your true emotions the way you would have without social media (as mentioned in this post ‘Social Media Strategy in Times of Tragedy‘ by Lisa Buyer).
- send a card
- burn a candle
- flag at half mast
- start a fundraiser
Social media is all about creating relationships and connecting. Show that you are a real person who cares and has emotions.
Would love to hear your insight on this sensitive topic.