I Feel Your Pain: Guidelines for Social Media in Times of Crisis

November 16, 2015
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Recent events such as the terrorist attacks on Paris cause an obvious interruption on “normal” life. As a socially present business that is not a direct victim of tragedy, how should your respond? Wisdom requires balance in everything. You want to make sure your organization and your people are careful not to go to extremes, causing frustration among your readers and, possibly, affecting your bottom line in a negative way.

Here are some guidelines to consider as you weigh your actions in social media during the days immediately following a tragedy:

  • Decide whether to suspend your routine. You may have scheduled posts to appear in your feeds well in advance. Look over your editorial calendar to see if any automated content could be considered insensitive or in poor taste given the crisis at hand. Change or even suspend these posts.
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  • Don’t feel the urgency to comment on the crisis one way or the other until you have more information. One of the worst mistakes you can make is to emotionally offer politically/socially charged information before all the facts are in. This will save you the business-killing embarrassment of having to backtrack as a result of taking sides too soon.
  • Any content you do post should be very neutral, supportive, and positive. Before placing content on your page, run it by another trusted individual and ask him/her to consider whether the words or images be taken in the wrong way by those who are affected by the crisis. In a difficult situation, two heads are better than one.

pray_for_paris

  • Watch and listen to what is going on in the public conversation. Let others make mistakes before you do, and learn from their mistakes! One measure of when it is safe to return to normal is when the news cycle is no longer dominated by the story.
  • Let the public know through your feeds that you are there to serve them, even during times of crisis. Get with your team to brainstorm what you can do to help. Perhaps your facilities could be made available to support relief efforts during a local emergency. In any difficult situation, your resources for dealing with grief could be made widely available through your web page on your Facebook home page.

Even in the midst of crisis, it’s good to remember that life will return to “normal” before too long. Knowing how to effectively manage your social media outreach in every situation is not always within your reach because you have other pressing needs to which you must attend. If you are frustrated, you can turn to the experts at DISRUPT Media. We will optimize your Facebook business page, in good times and bad, to garner the attention you’re business deserves. We know how to craft a Facebook strategy tailored to your business using our exclusive four part FUNERAL Social Design Process. Our process is what enables DISRUPT Media to claim that we are the funeral profession’s only full-service social media management firm. Our clients who are a part of our FUNERAL Social Design Process are seeing an increase in post reach and engagement of over 300%. Go to http://funeralsocial.com to find out more about the services we offer.

About Author

Mark Thogmartin, VP of Business Development at DISRUPT Media

Dr. Mark Thogmartin is a life-long educator, working with students from Kindergarten through the doctoral level. He has degrees from the University of Kentucky, the Ohio State University, and Andrews University. Mark’s book, Teach a Child to Read with Children’s Books, has gained wide acceptance among reading tutors and parents who are teaching their children at home. In addition to assisting his son, Ryan, at DISRUPT Media as Vice President of Business Development, he works part-time as a mentor of doctoral students at Capella University. Mark and his wife Donna live in Millersport and are the parents of three adult sons and the grandparents of two beautiful granddaughters.

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