Best Practices For Social Media During a Crisis

Updated: Nov 27

Learn how to better prepare for a crisis with these five steps

Social media is a go-to news source, empowering the public to get information from people they know and trust.


When we post to our channels regularly, we often think about how our audience will consume the information we publish. During a real-world crisis or emergency, we must be mindful of what's happening around us and adjust our strategies and tactics to be sensitive and show care to the community following us.


An image for a tunderstorm for an article about A how to guide on how to handle social media during a public crisis and how it can be done with minimal detrimental effects to your brand.

It is overwhelming when facing warfare, natural disasters, social movements, massacres, pandemics, or even economic collapse! One thing you can do is look at what you're publishing with the intent of helping your audience in the moment.

In this blog, you will find solutions to manage and adapt your content and learn social media best practices during tumultuous times.


1. Pause and re-examine your upcoming social media content

During a crisis, your intended campaigns or copy might not be appropriate for what's happening in real-time. Stop, pause or revise your content is always a best practice rather than continuing like it's busy as usual and coming off as insensitive or inappropriate.


TIP: save your content because - you may be able to use it at a later time.


2. Monitor your social media feed and use social listening to know what's happening

You might have heard of "post and don't ghost" a few times from us, this is an important tactic to know what's going in your feed, in your community and worldwide. Is your audience saying they are overwhelmed? Reposting self-care posts? Sharing resources to their stories? This is one type of social listening, and it is a powerful tool because it's a direct line to your audience. You can connect with them, understand their values and needs, and create the content they need from you.


TIP: follow hashtags on Instagram and check trends on Twitter. This is another way to keep your ears on the ground.

3. You don't need to create crisis content

Over the past few years, we have lived through many tragedies, not to mention a global pandemic! A significant takeaway from it is that you do not need to create crisis content when it is unrelated to you and your company.

Instead, it is an excellent opportunity to elevate the voice of others. Share content from organizations and people directly impacted. And always double-check what you are sharing, ensuring it's a credible source. You can do this by checking URLs and making sure articles are not click-bait or fake news.


If you want to create content, you can share the positive news related to the crisis (ex., nature recovery stories that happened when people were under lockdown during COVID-19), guides or resources. You can build a sense of community and remind your followers that you’re all in this together and it could be a much-needed break for your followers so they are not bombarded with heartbreaking news.


youtube shot for Sweet Talk Media Inc advice on best practices to manage your social media during a crisis.

4. Avoid trying to profit from the crisis

Never use a crisis as a way to sell your products! This is the digital equivalent of hoarding toilet paper. It is in poor taste to use the emergencies to promote yourself and your company. Again, try to read the room through social listening and understand your audience's needs. During the pandemic, thousands of companies offered free services or advice to help out the community. This is a better way to show up, and you can build brand loyalty from it.

5. Have a social media policy in place

In hard times (and regular times), it is always best practice to have a social media policy in place. You can plan ahead for a crisis that may happen at your business (ex., drowning if you work in a recreation centre) to dealing with unruly customers. It is a tool to equip your social media manager or staff so they can handle the situation with tact, solve any issues and protect your reputation.

During a crisis and under ordinary circumstances, please take a break if you feel overwhelmed by the constant updates. Your mental health matters, and you will be a better communicator when you're feeling like yourself again.


We hope this was helpful! We have used and are still using these tips for the past six years and counting as we

manage social media and digital marketing for global franchises, local businesses and charities. If you're looking for social media strategies or management, please reach out to us at hello@sweettalkmediainc.ca, follow us on Instagram or visit our services page for special, affordable bundles.