How to Use Social Media Sensitively In Times of Tragedies
Internet Marketing Marketing

How to Use Social Media Sensitively In Times of Tragedies

By Mainak Biswas February 15, 2013 - 779 views

Tragedies have become all too common these days. Whether crimes of unimaginable scales or natural disasters that can cause your hair to bristle, tragedies seem to occur at regular frequencies. What follows is an outpouring of heart rending messages, pictures, blog posts, articles and videos all over the Internet and social media.

As a company, what could you possibly do on the social media when all your followers and friends are only talking about a certain tragic incident? In this article, let us take a look at what your role as a company and as an owner of a company is, when tragedies strike closer home or far away. Wherever they strike, there is always something to do and some nice words to say. How you say it, and why you must say it are issues that we shall deal in this article.

Maintain Poise

As a company, you should not get carried away by the intensity of trauma or your own shock. You should maintain poise and avoid making statements that may either infuriate or prove to be useless to victims and those who are affected by the tragedy. Instead, maintain a sense of poise and offer comforting tweets and retweet those tweets that are positive and reassuring in nature. Express sympathy and empathize with the survivors and victims’ families.

Assure People and Ask for Calm

It is a natural tendency for people to go berserk on Twitter and Facebook. Many a times, your own followers and friends may be spreading rumors unintentionally. If possible, get somebody to fact-check on rumors and post facts. Reassure your followers and friends and appeal for calm. You are a company and in a better position to request for calm and as an authority figure, your fact-based tweets and Facebook updates will have more value than rumors spread by regular people.

Contribute and Use Your Influence to Get Others to Contribute

As a company or an organization, you will have a greater degree of influence on social and elsewhere in the community. Use this influence to form groups of people who may visit the disaster struck area or use your influence to lobby local community groups to do what they can do best. Get one of your trusted employees to list charitable organizations that are reliable and consistent I their approach and donate money. Request your own followers and friends to do that over Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. If possible, you may upload a link on your website for a short duration asking people to donate money towards the disaster.

Avoid Emotional Outbursts or Engaging in Controversies

In times of large crimes or huge natural disasters, it is natural to feel strong emotions. However, do not display your negative and strong emotions from your company’s social media accounts or even your own personal but official accounts. Instead, try to be rational, balanced and objective. Do not make controversial statements that may offend certain groups for people. Request your followers not to do the same as well.

Reach Out to Victims and Offer Something Nice

When disasters and crimes happen, victims are often just statistics. This leads to a scenario where we forget that they are living and breathing human beings who may have their own presence on social media. Use Twitter (and not Facebook or LinkedIn) to reach out to them and express your sorrow and empathize with them. If they respond to you and accept your condolences, empathy and wishes, offer to help them with whatever they need, if it is within your budget.

It is never a good idea to capitalize on disasters and crimes. In fact, it is extremely unethical to do so. However, to turn a blind eye to tragic incidents when they happen in your community would be cold and cruel. As a company and organization, you will have certain responsibilities to the community in general and you will need to give back when your community needs your support the most. Social media is a great place to use your corporate and organizational influence and help people in need at the right time. Companies can greatly reduce the rumor mills that we often see in times of tragedies. Take responsibility, and be kind and show your empathy through actions on social media so that your company becomes a role model for others too!

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