Handling Tragedy on Social Media

When tragedy strikes, it is difficult for individuals, especially businesses, to know the best way to deal with the situation. Should you make a public statement or remain silent with respect? Social media is built around the concept of community. And community becomes more important than ever in times of tragedy or national distress. People use social media as a medium for reflecting, reacting and responding to the tragedy. It can be challenging for business to know how to best handle a tragedy and sometimes doing nothing is not the answer. Here’s our advice for handling tragedies on social media.

Make unbiased statements about the tragedy

This one might seem obvious, but it can be very easy to get caught up in the moment and discuss the perpetrators, victims or anyone else involved. Remember that your brand should remain an unbiased third party whose sole purpose is to assist those affected in whatever way you can. A guiding principle is to avoid any action or expression that may be perceived to be of commercial interest.

Provide links to relevant resources

A supporting statement alone is nice, but most people will need help coping during the tragedy. Providing your following with links to helpful and relevant resources would be a great way to address the tragedy.

Collect Donations For Relief

Depending on the nature of the tragedy, it may make sense to collect donations for relief, medical care, etc. Find a legitimate non-profit to align with for this purpose, and create a social media campaign geared to collect donations.

Research Before Publicly Sharing Anything

Before deciding to react to a national tragedy on social media, you must ensure that you have all the facts. There's nothing worse than a business commenting on a rumor that turns out to be untrue. Some events are so painful and tragic that it is hard not to react instinctively and emotionally.

When it comes to handling tragedy on social media, tread lightly but don’t ignore it completely. How have you handled tragedy on social media in the past? Let us know in the comments.