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Twitter has enabled us to share news in real time and this is never so apparent as when a crisis hit, however yesterdays Boston Marathon explosion updates were interrupted by brand promotions that had been scheduled.
Last night tragedy struck the Boston Marathon, 2 explosions went off at the finish of the Boston Marathon killing 3 people and injuring over a hundred and forty (as of 08.00 am 16th April). We saw the best and worst of humanity through social media, with people raising money for red cross and gathering people to donate blood, but also pseudo accounts and negativity which will no doubt continue. Amidst the updates of stories from Boston many brands had auto tweets that were interrupting the news and updates making brands appear insensitive.
Scheduled Tweets are a useful tool for brands to schedule automated tweets out of hours but you have to be careful what you tweet as if they are obviously automated it can decrease engagement and people are less likely to follow.
For example scheduling questions that followers may respond to but not being on hand to reply to responses can affect brand loyalty.
We sometimes use scheduled tweets for management but they must be mixed in with real tweets and real engagement. Some brands only use scheduled and automated tweets but these twitter accounts do not do as well as they could.
Twitter Crisis Management
Any Social media management team should have some sort of Twitter Crisis Management (or equivalent).
Brand Crisis Management
Brand Crisis Management is when the brand receives negative mentions on social media, it is how the brand responds to this, it could be first lone defences, finding ways to nip the situation in the bud and official responses.
The way a brand responds to negativity on social media can highlight the company, turn the negativity around or if dealt with badly make a lot worse.
Crisis Management – current affairs
General Crisis Management is how a brand behaves in light of breaking news, this may be industry news or it could be a crisis situation such as the Boston Marathon explosions.
In this situation brand managers should have clear instructions on how to respond, do you offer support or condolences? Have you a budget to donate to helping? Do you use the crisis for publicity?
Many brands have different responses, not all are good and appropriate, but last night highlighted how insensitive brands can appear when scheduled tweets are not put on hold in these situations.
At first a few scheduled tweets went out but as the night went on my own timeline was littered with tweets from brands who really needed to turn off the scheduled tweets and post a more sensitive response or just keep quiet.
Many of the brands were probably oblivious to the fact their tweets were receiving negative feedback and looked heartless in such tragedy. So a note to all you brand managers if you hear of a national or international crisis get on to your social media account (whether via a third party platform or direct) and put those scheduled tweets on hold.
The good role Social Media played in the Boston Marathon Explosions
Last night social media was lit up with stories, images and condolences about the Boston Marathon, we live in an age where this information is brought to us seconds after the event and apart from a few bad profiles taking advantage of the tragedy it also highlighted how much good there is.
There is no justification for these explosions that warrants taking innocent lives, including an eight year old boy, and injuring many people. The winners and professional runners had crossed the finish line and the victims were amateur runners, many running for charity, who had trained for months and months for the huge achievement of completing a marathon. The explosions were a cruel act but amidst this act we saw the very best humanity has to offer.
Social media brought us pictures minutes after the explosions of the first responders rushing in to help the victims, we saw messages shared on Twitter rallying donations for the red cross, organising blood donors, and informing meet up points for people to reunite with family and friends amidst the chaos.
Last night the world was watching Boston, they cared for Boston, they prayed for Boston and most importantly they were united for Boston.