When should a company suspend its social media activity?

Major tragedies occur somewhere in the world on an almost daily basis. What are the implications for brands on social media?

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On that day, not a single U.S. company suspended its social media marketing efforts. Facebook updates and tweets danced merrily across pages. Nowhere did anybody call for a halt to these messages as the horror of the attack sunk in. While I can’t be sure none were posted, I’m unaware of a single Somali who chastised American companies for their insensitivity as they continued to pitch their brands and wares while the dust settled among the dead and wounded at the Supreme Court building.

In a study of contrast, as news of the Boston attack spread, consumers flooded Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels with condemnation of businesses and individuals that continued to push their marketing content, particularly those who didn’t turn off autoposts. This was not the time for crass marketing; it was a time for communal grieving and reflection.

Edelman’s David Armano was quick to tweet a friendly reminder:

Brands: Turn off your automated posts immediately. Update your content calendar and re-think your marketing promotions. Think before posting

— David Armano (@armano) April 15, 2013

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