While most brands will usually be seen on social media “post-crisis” expressing things like “Our hearts are with X today” or “We at XX would like to send our deepest condolences…” I think it is vitally important to realize what they are actually doing: posting for likes and shares.

And that frankly, is less than palatable to me.

While I understand that there are plenty of businesses that make their money during and after certain crises (i.e.

news organizations), it doesn’t mean that leveraging painful events for a like is fair game either.

Now, I would like to clarify something quickly. I do think brands should care and show their humanity, it’s just that likes and shares don’t save/change lives…. (See THIS ARTICLE for more about Slacktivism, and some great examples of organizations who have called out the Slacktivists.)

So, what do you do? If you want to show your support/sympathy for a recent crisis, ACTUALLY do something or donate to the cause and promote THAT by asking others to do the same. Not only will you be truly supporting the cause but you’ll be setting a good example for your fans, for other companies and just generally helping to make the world a better place.

Of course, you can’t always be there to do something, or you may not have the money to donate, or maybe you just don’t have the know-how to set up a fund for these crises. But, in those cases I will offer two other possible solutions:

  1. Find an organization that is working on helping out and feed your consumers to their sites. These aren’t your competitors, so you can do that. You may not be able to give to the organization, but maybe your clients can.
  2. Or, don’t say anything at all. I know it’s hard not to tug at the heartstrings when they’re right there but please, resist the temptation, it’s disrespectful.

I’d like to end by saying that through our experiences here we’ve learned that if you do say something like what I began with, you get backlash from fans who think you should know better. And if you don’t say anything at all, you occasionally get backlash from fans who think you’re heartless and don’t care. Well, I think it was Michael Arrington who recently said “No great controversy was ever started with silence.”