It’s rare that we receive our news from actual newspapers or even televised news in today’s world, where people are more likely to subscribe to The Skimm, get a push notification from a news-related smartphone app, or check to Twitter or Facebook for the latest. This is all the more reason for companies and brands to be careful how they react to current events around the globe.
Too frequently we see brands misstep when it comes to managing their brand digitally – automatically generated thank you images issued to new Twitter followers in some cases, or making an inappropriate comment in relation to a sensitive or emotionally charged hashtag.
If you would like to contribute your brand’s voice to the discussion, here are three do’s and three don’ts for how to manage your digital brand in the wake of current events.
How to manage your digital brand in the wake of current events on Social Media
DO your research on the hashtag you see trending. A quick search on your favorite search engine is likely to yield some initial results. Scour through and educate yourself before contributing to the conversation.
DON’T be afraid of controversy, but be prepared for the commentary. U.S. company Best Buy recently made headlines for a tweet about pay phones, garnering raised eyebrows and consternation by many who have listened to National Public Radio’s podcast Serial, in which a convicted criminal had allegedly used a pay phone at Best Buy to call a friend about a murder he had committed. Best Buy clearly had planned this tweet and it drew attention to their brand, but many found it to be in poor taste.
DO develop a crisis communication policy. How will escalated customer service issues or backlash against a tweet or post be handled? Will there be multiple people involved? Are social media posts planned in advance and reviewed or does the primary community manager have ultimate discretion on what is posted?
DON’T be afraid to require your community manager(s) to use a separate phone or a separate app for managing company brands. Many of us don’t wish to carry around more than one phone, but housing client or company social media accounts in a different app than personal ones can prevent a serious mishap.
DO check your scheduled social media posts as soon as you hear about breaking world news. If the news is panic-inducing or emotionally charged, remove your scheduled posts. Many companies are perceived to be ignorant or tacky for continuing with scheduled, branded messaging in the wake of national or natural disasters.
DON’T let this stop you from using social media altogether. We sometimes see companies avoid social media because they don’t want to deal with an audience’s negative responses. But don’t forget that people are likely talking about you online anyway, whether it’s on social media, a blog, or even Reddit. Take ownership of your digital properties and create a thoughtful plan for navigating this on-demand environment.
Creating a crisis communications plan and determining how to speak up during current events or pop culture buzz can be tricky.
Have a social media strategy in place that includes crisis management, and you will be able to execute your social media plans without concern. Feel free to ask some questions in the comments below.