Social media usually features positive content, but how do you respond when a negative event happens? Ignoring a public tragedy that bombards the news and everyone’s social media feeds can damage the credibility of your brand by making you look insensitive. If the online community is grieving about a certain event, it can seem inappropriate to post your normal happy content.
Acknowledging the tragic event on your social media will identify you as current, active in real-time posting, and allow you to connect your followers on an emotional level. Remember that a key aspect of social media for your business is to sound human. Follow these tips for responding properly on social media.
- Keep it simple. Use a phrase that expresses your compassion and positive thoughts for those affected by the tragedy.
- Join in on the trending hashtag to show unity. By using the trending hashtag (or multiple) surrounding the event, your post will be included in the relevant social media conversations, and your brand will become a part of an empathic community.
- Avoid polarizing statements. Although emotions can naturally be high during times of public tragedies, keep in mind your broad audience and avoid spilling out your political or religious opinions on your business’ profile (unless your business is politically-based).
- Be uplifting. In times of tragedy, it’s important to show your empathy and compassion, and also to demonstrate your hope for healing.
- Watch the next two posts following your commiserate post. While sharing a post to express your shared empathy is great, be careful that your next immediate post isn’t overly happy. Keep your next two posts positive but relaxed. For example, posting about a time to celebrate and party is still not appropriate immediately following a time of grief. Give it a bit of time to make your empathy post sincere.
Remember that social media is about connecting with people – not merely selling yourself. When public grief happens, it’s best to listen to your audience and engage with a topic they are focusing on. You can also learn how to handle sensitive holidays on social media.
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