No matter where you were last week you felt the effects of the tragedies in Boston and West. You didn’t have to have someone you knew running in marathon or living in Texas, once you heard the news life seemed to stop. But, fortunately, and unfortunately, the Internet and social media don’t stop.
There were some fantastic online and social media efforts on the part of the Boston Police Department (@Boston_Police) who kept the public up to date with correct information and by dispelling any rumors and hearsay about the investigation, and Google who announced their Person Finder to help those in distress find their loved ones. And, of course there were also those social faux pas, mostly caused by scheduled posts that weren’t turned off (like Kim Kardashian’s).
So, what should you do and keep in mind while posting on social media during a crisis? We’ve compiled a few best practices:
- Stay current and knowledgeable on all current events (which should not only be during a crisis, but at all times while working in social).
- STOP all scheduled posts IMMEDIATELY. No one wants to hear your brand’s message at this time and online viewers will be ultra sensitive (rightly so) to any posts that are out of place or are even relatively “pitchy.”
- Offer to help. But only if you actually have the ability to offer valuable assistance that could truly and positively affect someone. Heck, a simple Google Drive Doc gave hope to many people in Boston.
- Offer condolences. But don’t feel the need to have to post. You want your voice to remain authentic and real, don’t just become one of the crowd due to obligation. Your readers should know your brand’s tone and know it came from the heart.
- Go dark. There’s nothing wrong with saying nothing if you have nothing to say – sometimes tragedy is too much and there’s nothing you can do to address it.