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5 Rules for Your Social Voice During A Crisis

The fact is, with some careful consideration and thoughtful posts, social media can be handled well during a disaster. Nonprofit organizations can look to these tips to understand how they can best help out.

1.    Be Thankful
For those charities out there that receive funding during disasters, be thankful for what you were given and let the world know how you plan to use the funding. The Boston Police Fund did a great job of this during the recent Boston crisis:

2.    Have a Plan
There are a huge number of nonprofits that are active on both Twitter and Facebook. These days, it is an integral part of the promotional and survival strategy for a nonprofit to have a social presence – some of the best free advertising that’s available to you.

Most of the time, charities are able to maintain a fun, casual presence on social media, sharing their successes and projects with their followers. But do you have a contingency plan for troubled times?

Your plan should constitute what social media actions are going to be taken during a disaster and who is going to take the lead and execute them. The latest tornado in the state of Oklahoma damaged the area and caused many casualties. The Salvation Army of Oklahoma took to Twitter to express how they are helping people and to keep everyone updated on the current situation:

You can never really plan out your response to a crisis in advance, but you can at least be aware of what is possible. How will you keep people updated on what is happening, when it is happening? What hashtags can you use to help connect people to timely information? Do you have easy ways for people to donate and pitch in at any given moment?

3.   Show Support
Even if you’re not one of the big names involved in crisis relief, your nonprofit can still show support and help disperse information. Many nonprofits take to Twitter and use hash tags like #PrayForNewtown to show their support, or go to Facebook and post a picture to show their assistance. The important part is that you acknowledge what has happened, and you let others know how your charity understands and can relate to what is happening.  Here’s another great example from The Happiness Theory:

4.   Stop Automation
This may be the most important tip we offer. There is software out there that allows social media users to create a list of pre-scheduled posts and then automatically distribute them on a given day or at certain time intervals. This is largely used with Twitter. People who use this software are able to schedule out tweets days or weeks in advance.

During the Boston Bombing, some did not stop this automation. They received a lot of flack for their poor judgment. In a time of need, you must stop the automation and show your human side and support for those affected by the event.

If you are a nonprofit that uses automated tweets, be sure to set guidelines for when to put them on hold. These automations can be useful sometimes, but during a crisis, turn the robots off and be human.

5.   Use Caution
This is in here to make sure you understand the power of social media. Things that are posted online can become viral within a few minutes. The last thing the nation wants is false information snowballing around the Internet. Tweeting, retweeting, and sharing get the word around fast. Some people even use social media as their news source. Do your part to ensure that they are receiving truthful information, keep away from fraud accounts, and pay attention to some private investigator companies networks like Wymoo who can help identify these frauds.

If you have any more great tips to offer for non-profits, please let us know in the comments below.

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