At DMA, we are constantly strategizing to find opportunities for our brands to take part in trending conversations on social media. In recent months, we’ve been faced with the reality that there are also situations when brands should NOT be present. In the social environment we are living in today, tragedy may strike at any time. For this reason, it is important to understand your role as a brand in advance and establish a plan for responding with respect. We’ve gathered some best practices that brands should follow when using social media immediately following a tragedy.
Remember the purpose of using social media
For fresh produce brands, social media is a powerful tool with exponential opportunities. It’s a platform for sharing your brand’s unique story, passion, and voice. But the most valuable aspect of social media lies within its ability to humanize a brand and create meaningful personal connections with people. If you aren’t emotionally vulnerable during a tragedy, you’re missing the mark on social media. Allow your brand to create a human connection by either taking a social pause or sharing a message of solidarity. If you do choose to share a message of solidarity, just remember to be sensitive in your actions and show respect for all involved. Refrain from being an “ego marketer” and instead focus on the personal connections you’ve built with your social media communities. It’s okay to share a thoughtful message following a tragedy, so long as you do it without promoting yourself.
Read the “room”
One of the most important parts of social media marketing is always being prepared to react. Whether you’re looking out for customer complaints or an opportunity to join in a trending topic, it is crucial that you are always aware of what is happening in the social media environment. When tragedy strikes, you don’t want to be late to react. Be sure that you are prepared in advance by subscribing to news alerts and planning an official response for your brand. When you’re deciding what measures to take following a national tragedy, take a moment to look at your feeds and investigate what is trending. Understand social cues and gauge the way that the world is reacting. Once you have a good grasp on what your community is feeling, you can make a decision about how your brand should react.
Consider taking a social pause
In times of tragedy, taking a moment of silence is a sign of respect for all who are grieving. As a brand on social media, initial silence is a key appropriate reaction. Social media feeds are flooded, confusing, emotional, and controversial immediately following a tragedy, so consider taking a pause in order to stay out of the noise. Refrain from posting on all your social feeds and pause any advertisements you may be running. Pausing the regular flow of communication will communicate respect and prevent your brand from contributing to the increased and chaotic activity across social media feeds. However, we do recommend to stay consistent in engaging. If someone asks a question or needs help, it is okay to respond and interact with that person and maintain your customer service role.
As a social media marketer, being flexible, prepared, and available at all times is an important key to success. In times of tragedy, brands must take extra care to exhibit these values. Be prepared, create a plan, and ensure that communication is kept open so that when tragedy strikes, you can feel confident in responding an informed and respectful manner.