Digital Etiquette During a Crisis

Earlier in the week I talked about the impact the coronavirus is having on our industry and provided some tools you can use to help stay connected internally. The more I thought about it, internal communications are really only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to communicating during a crisis. There’s a lot to consider from your cadence to your content as the last thing you want to do is seem unapologetic or out of touch when the world around you is chaotic.
Digital Etiquette
What I’m about to outline may sound simple, but I think we can all think of a time when we received a communication or saw a social post that felt a bit out of touch given what was happening around the world. My biggest piece of advice? When a crisis occurs, take a step back and a deep breath. 
Take the time to think about all the communications you have going out both internally and externally. That time to breathe is so valuable, and during that time, here are some of the biggest things to consider:

Cadence – during a crisis, make sure you aren’t flooding your followers’ channels or inboxes with unnecessary information. Try to stick to 1-2 touchpoints a week and reevaluate, as with a crisis things are likely to be very fluid.

Sales – if there is a bit of chaos going on in the world, I don’t know how engaged your audience will be with your “Kickoff Spring” sale. If you can, look to push back your offering to a later date, once things begin to normalize.

Events – there are a number of things to consider here, but the last thing you want to do is send an invite or promote an event that is no longer happening. When it comes to future events, I like to revert to my colleague, Jamie Gyerman’s advice: “If it has a date, it can wait.” As I mentioned before, things during a crisis are very fluid, so the best course of action is to just pause any events and reevaluate at a later date.

Promotions – whether it be a product or service during a crisis it is probably not the best time to remind people that your product or service can help increase efficiency by 30%. On the other side of things, if you’re offering a break on a product or service because of the crisis, feel free to promote that to the proper audience with the proper cadence.
Once you’ve taken all of the above into consideration, you can start to think about how you can shift your content strategy until things calm down a bit.
Let’s take the recent coronavirus crisis as an example. If you operate a gym or fitness center, you can shift your content from promoting your facility/classes to how you can still work out at home now that your gym is closed. The most important thing is to position your organization as a helpful, considerate resource to your audience during a time when many people’s worlds have been turned upside down.
Above all else, common sense is your best friend in these situations. In almost all cases, if it feels off, you’re probably right.