How to Deal with Social Media on Somber Holidays and Moments in History

September 17th, 2013 by | 1 Comment

Image by Paul Stein

Some of the biggest social media faux pas done by companies—even large brands—is usually due to the way they’ve handled a particularly sensitive issue. Sad and even tragic moments, whether on the news or as part of the nation’s collective memory, are all a part of life and it’s only human to acknowledge them.

But how does a business deal reconcile the need to show their human side on social media with being professional to an extent?

First of all, the business has the choice to simply refrain from acknowledging the past and just moving forward with business as usual. This is perhaps the wisest move for most, as some messages of condolence or solidarity may sometimes be misconstrued as marketing and deemed totally inappropriate or even shameful.

This was definitely the case for some brands over the past week when 9/11 rolled around. Some updates caused uproar due to their tastelessness while others were greeted with mixed responses.


Does Your Brand Really Need to Participate?

Now, you might be wondering how your brand could still show solidarity during such times. Well, for starters, give it some thought. Think about your audience and wonder if a majority of them would like it that you acknowledge the event. If acknowledging the event is a must for your brand image, then here are some guidelines for when you put together your update:

1. Keep it short, simple, and solemn. No one likes a person making light of a solemn day. Ask for a moment of silence or prayer, or call for a salute to the people the day honors. Refrain from adding anything else.

2. Try to refrain from using hashtags. The key to marking the day respectfully is to just step back and not try to push your company into any dialogue regarding the day. Pushing your brand into a hashtag conversation can easily backfire.

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