Social Media During the Boston Marathon Tragedy

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Ever since the bombings occurred during the Boston Marathon, I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to post to make some kind of sense of this with regard to public relations and social media.

My natural inclination was to post something about the important role social media played during the event, but that seemed too obvious to me. There’s no doubt that YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and even some of the lesser known social media channels all carried huge amounts of content from people all over the world.

So what can I add? Just this morning, I saw a posting by Steve Crescenzo on Ragan.com that focused on something known as automatic tweets. For those of you who don’t know about this, there are applications you can use to not only manage the contents of your tweets on Twitter, but the frequency with which they are tweeted. You can set up ways to post automatically based on content you either provide to post or garner from other sources.

With regard to Boston, Steve discusses how Guy Kawasaki, a social media guru known for his insight and creativity, kept up his stream of automatic tweets promoting himself and his products/services. Instead of having the foresight and compassion to stop his Twitter stream, he continued the stream. This served as a wake-up call for Steve who wrote:

He got slammed on Twitter . . . but, being the great Guy Kawasaki, the former "Apple evangelist," and bestselling author, he didn't stop. In fact, he doubled down, with this tweet:

"Loving how people with less than 1,500 followers are telling me how to tweet  . . ."

I urge you to read Steve’s full blog article, but what can CPAs and accountants gain from this?

  • While I think a steady social media feed is fine as long as there’s good content to push out, we need to evaluate not only what we’re sending, but being very sensitive to the feelings of others – our followers and those searching for topics we’re putting up on social media.
  • When something that is considered a “crisis” occurs, stop what you’re doing and think about the impact you might have on your clients and prospects. Social media is a great PR tool, but not when it could backfire on you and provide a negative image.

Let’s face it – social media is hard to keep up with, let alone keeping up with it while you’re also trying to bill more hours and grow your practice or business. Still, you wouldn’t have made a client call to someone who lives in Boston while the aftermath of the tragedy was being sorted out.

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