Best Social Media Practices During a National Crisis

Photo courtesy of koin.com

Photo courtesy of koin.com

The Imagine Media team, like the rest of the country, was devastated by the news of the Orlando shooting this past weekend. Faced with the most fatal terror attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, the country is obviously still reeling. I woke up on Sunday morning and naturally went to check my social media newsfeed, I was not prepared for what I would find. In shock I scrolled through post after post regarding the shooting. Time after time I have seen that when faced with a tragedy such as this, people immediately take to social media. In my opinion, this is when the power of social media is most obvious. The world wide web allows people from across the country and across the world to form a community that together mourns a tremendous loss of life.

Joining this community as an individual is relatively straightforward. Posts expressing a range of emotions, from sadness and anger to love and hope, are generally all acceptable. However, a business that is active on social media might have a harder time finding their place in this online community, especially in a time of crisis. Here, at Imagine Media Consulting, we believe that this online community is crucial, and not just for selling products or ideas. We have taken some time over the past couple days to consider how a business would most appropriately handle their social media platforms in a time of national crisis. The following is what Imagine Media would suggest as best practices when joining an online community in mourning.

1. Have a plan in place.

Unfortunately, the Orlando shooting was not the first and will not be the last tragedy to take place in the United States. Therefore, we advise that your team has a plan in place in case something is to happen unexpectedly. Do not forget to consider if any employees or customers could be directly affected by the event, and respond accordingly. 

2. Postpone promotional posts until the worst is over.

During or directly after a national crisis is not the right time for you to try and promote your new line of lipstick or dress shirts. Hold off on such posts until the dust has started to settle. There is no “right” amount of time to wait, so use your best judgment. No matter what, do not try and use the crisis to promote or tie into your product! 

*If you work for an ad agency or handle other companies’ social media platforms, email your contact explaining the situation and why you have suspended their posts for the time being.

3. Show your followers that there are real people with real feelings working for your company.

If you are going to post be sure to express sympathy and compassion for the victims and those affected by the tragedy. Not only is it okay to show emotion on social media, but it is advised during situations such as these. 

The Imagine Media team's most heartfelt condolences go out to the victims, the families, the city of Orlando, and all affected by this terrible tragedy. We hope you feel the support of not only this country, but the entire world behind you as you begin seeking healing. 

Story by: Corinne Orr