One of the best things about social media is its immediacy. This benefit can also be a curse. It’s safe to say that the world has faced tragedy in recent months. As individuals, we are free to comment on anything + everything we want. Unless you’re a public figure or say something truly offensive, your comments will bring little repercussions. As a brand, it’s a different story.
Brands have gotten a lot of flack in times of tragedy for not showing their support on an issue. Others have been criticized for showing too much or the wrong kind of support. Sometimes being a brand on social media is a veritable minefield. You have to be careful what you say when you say it + even how you say it. Add to that pressure the fact that you often have only 280 characters to express your sentiments. With that in mind, here are a few things to weigh when considering whether or not to comment on something publicly.
- Is your company large enough that people expect a comment (i.e. Fortune 500)?
- Does your company have any business interests in the region?
- If you’re a small business, is this a major issue in your community?
- Is your comment likely to cause a strong negative reaction to a large faction of people?
- Is it possible to comment neutrally?
- Have you commented on this type of issue before?
- Has this event consumed mainstream media?
- Are you still within the first 12 hours of the event?
If you answered yes to at least two of these questions you may want to consider responding commenting. You do not have to comment on anything. But, once you comment on something you do set the precedence that commenting on social + world events is something you do.