How social media managers should react when tragedy strikes

Start by acting like a human, not a marketing robot.

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It wasn’t the power to market to the masses, nor was it the opportunity for people to position themselves as experts in a particular field. Social media was and is, at its core, a vehicle for human connection.

That’s exactly what social media managers need to remember when dealing with horrible tragedies such as the Boston Marathon bombings. We often talk about having a communications plan in place for a crisis, and although that’s always important, the most important thing to remember is to act like a human being.

Beyond that, here are some brief guidelines:

Have a company plan in place. Meet with people in marketing, PR, communications, and social media, and anyone else who manages any kind of external, automated, and organic messaging. Make sure that everyone agrees that during a crisis, any automated messages unrelated to the crisis will be disabled. Also discuss whether you’ll be covering breaking news (depending on your industry) or whether you plan to post messages of sympathy but otherwise stay silent.

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