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Social Media Analytics

Responding to current events on social: Dos and Don'ts

When big news happens – a celebrity death, a political scandal, a major sporting upset or a freak weather event –  it can feel like everyone is talking about the same thing, all at once.

Suddenly, the same news is all over TV, plastered across newspapers, the hot-topic on talk-back radio – and, of course, everywhere you look on social media. 

We saw this happen most recently with the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the United Kingdom’s longest-reigning monarch.

If you felt like this was all anyone was talking about – in real life and on social – you wouldn’t be far off. FromAugust to September, Zavy’s social listening tool Radar shows 27,618 posts and 151,940 mentions about the Queen in Australia and New Zealand alone!

 Many brands saw this as an opportunity to join the conversation, using their social media to pay their respects. Some of these were meaningful tributes from relevant voices to the United Kingdom’s longest serving monarch. And some…Missed the mark.

Ill-advised tributes from brands that perhaps should have stayed out of the conversation

Using your brand’s social media to weigh in on current events of the moment can be a great strategy to engage your audience – when done well. But these examples show just how wrong it can go – causing major damage to customer trust and goodwill int he process. 

We’ve pulled together some key dos and don’ts for how to leverage key moments in the news – including some guidance on when a ‘dignified silence’ is perhaps a better approach. 

DO: Consider the opportunity

Trying to start a new conversation on social media is often a whole lot harder – and less effective – than joining one already going on. People are already talking about things that they care about – joining them can be a great way to boost your brand and show your audience that you care about the same things.

If you think your brand has something to add to the conversation, capitalising on a moment can be a great idea – just make sure you think carefully before hitting post.

DON’T: Forget who you are

There’s lots to be gained from weighing in on a conversation currently happening in news or online – but where we see this done most successfully is when it’s a brand talking about news relevant to their industry.

If the current event or moment seems far removed from what your brand would normally talk about, you would be wise to take extra caution.  

It can be tempting to jump on the bandwagon of the latest trending topic on social, but if doing so isn’t a natural fit with what your brand is about, then you may be best to stay clear.   This is especially true if you are weighing in on a serious political issue or sombre cultural moment – you may run the risk of doing more harm than good.

DO: Listen to the conversation first 

There are times when your brand may choose to respond to a cultural moment or take a political stance – we’re seeing this more and more with brands choosing to position themselves in movements like Black Lives Matter and LGBTQI+ issues.  

However, these decisions need to be careful and strategic – avoid jumping in on social media before you’ve had time to think about how this approach aligns with your wider vision and values.  

It's important to keep your audience front-of-mind and find out as much as you can about an issue before you share your thoughts. This is especially true when responding to a moment in the news cycle: remember that your audience may have a wide variety of views, responses and emotions.

Figuring out what your audience is talking about – and how – is where a social listening tool like Zavy’s Radar can come in handy.  

By being aware of what online conversations are happening in your industry, you can better understand the conversations your audience is having and how your competitors are responding – and tailor your messaging accordingly.

Find out what topics and keywords people are talking about with Zavy's social listening tool Radar

DO: Check out what Zavy can do for you

Zavy also lets you compare your posts and sentiment to others. That means if you’re thinking about making a post reacting to something in the news, you can look at how people have received similar posts in the past – from both you and your competitors. If certain types of post are performing strongly and delivering engagement, you can incorporate those into your future planning.  

In all these ways and more: Zavy can help you take the temperature of the social media conversation and make more strategic decisions than ever before.

Zavy's sentiment tracking helps you make strategic social decisions backed by data

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© Zavy 2021
© Zavy 2021