Posted on : 16-04-2013 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Brands, Marketing, Social Media
This post originally appeared on LinkedIn as part of their influencer program on April 16, 2013. To see the original post click here.
Events in Boston have been heart wrenching to all of us. I for one have been glued to coverage as the events unwind, not unlike similar tragic events in the past. I always take solace in the extraordinary ways people come to the aid of those in need. These individuals restore faith in humanity after such an unhuman act. I would like to express my gratitude to the first responders who go toward the danger to aid others. These are the heroes in this world and we do not celebrate them enough. I offer my deepest condolences to the family who have been impacted by this tragic event, and to the city of Boston.
In the business world we tend to be numb to the world around us and strive to focus on what is important to us. Our business. This becomes so evident in social media the way many companies continue to try to push out their messages, even during times of human tragedy.
There is very little evidence that companies who take this approach respect or even understand they are part of community. I know it is difficult sometimes to know when to pull back or not, so I wanted to open the conversation here, especially in the wake of these events. David Armano has written a good guide after the events at Sandy Hook, and I recommend that you keep that handy.
As I watched the events unfold yesterday, I followed discussions on Twitter and Facebook, as well as a variety of news sources. The challenge is these discussions were often broken up by social media ads touting how great these companies are. It seemed very inappropriate based on what was on my mind at the time. It became a real turn off to those brands.
As I was discussing this with some friends, some pushed back saying “bad events happen all over the world every day; where do you draw the line?” It is a valid comment and worthy of conversation. In my view you have to know your community on the social networking site.
Many businesses may have an international audience and they may not be following events in Boston as closely, so they may not care about the content you are sharing. At some point they may have a different event that does impact them deeply, and it is important for you to identify that as well. Always remember you are an invited guest within these social networks, and they can easily shut you out from the community, even with paid content. Unfortunately, I think brands have forgotten that over the years, and instead of serving the community they show how self serving they really are.
As we return to normal and you start posting content after a tragic event, it is also important to respect the minds of your audience. They may be more open to your posts, they still want to see your sensitive side regarding the recent event.
Earlier today Epicurious posted Tweets regarding Boston. The one started off perfect “Boston, our hearts are with you…” but then it went on to post a recipe for Cinnamon Scented Breakfast Quinoa. If this company thought about the mindset of their community, they would realize that they may see this as trying to capitalize on the tragedy instead of offering value to the community.
In the early days of social media, this was easy for us. First of all we knew the people behind every one of the businesses. We did not have automated tweets or scheduled posts. It was all about human interaction and touch. In some ways social has always been about this but for some reason we often forget that. During these tragic events, always think about that, and what is important to you. It will help guide you in making the best decision for your brand.
As I was writing this post, Scott Monty posted some thought on the events of yesterday. I would urge you to take a few minutes to review that as well.
Thank you again to all the heroes in Boston for helping to restore faith in humanity. My thoughts and prayers are dedicated to all those impacted by this event, and a wish that we could find a way to rid the world of such horrific acts. Thank you for being part of my community.