Social Media Do’s and Don’ts During Disasters
  • Samantha Alexander

Social Media Do’s and Don’ts During Disasters

Updated: Jan 27

The country is still unsettled after flooding across Trinidad and Tobago left many citizens displaced. Businesses, big and small, took to social media to express their thoughts to those affected. There were some that needed social media guidance and others that did well to walk the straight and sensitive line. With this in mind, we’ve made a list of social media Do’s and Don’ts for businesses during a disaster:

Do’s:

Be Sensitive on Social Media

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Social media always has natural disaster information. This was the first place everyone flocked to when they heard of a highway flooding and waters in residential areas up to 7ft. As a business owner, it cannot be  business as usual if half of the country cannot get to the other half. Be sensitive on your social media. Acknowledge that something is happening, potentially to people who may follow you. Be genuine and caring in your posts, show that your business cares.

Assist

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At this time, citizens in some shape or form have been mobilizing. This is an opportunity for your business to assist in relief efforts. You can also ask customers on your social media to join you. Collaborate with NGOs or other businesses if your business is unable to coordinate on its own. Such as, posting your establishment as a drop off point and a list of items required. You can also post pictures of the items collected and other behind the scenes images to keep followers abreast of what is being done.

Don’ts:

Permission

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Lets just say it right now. Don’t post pictures of those affected without their permission. The last thing people want to see a year from now is their picture in a throwback photo during the worst time of their lives and they never knew the photo was taken. Content is gold, BUT! let people breathe during a time such as this. Always ask permission. It’s the sensitive thing to do.

Insensitivity

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Of course this a “Don’t”. During a disaster, it is not the time to launch a new product or service. Other than your content looking absolutely out of place amongst a timeline of flood related news, no one will be paying attention to it. Your intentions may have been great, the post was probably scheduled, you were not affected and all the other reasons. It comes all the way back to sensitivity. That word seems to be the theme of this blog. While we’re here, memes and jokes are also off limits. Especially if they are flood related. Just no.

Overall, the way you communicate with your followers should always be done with some level of sensitivity. We’re saying to increase that sensitivity during a disaster.  Show you care. It’s not always about sales but also about corporate social responsibility.

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