Social issues are arising more frequently than ever. With everyone having different opinions and ways of expressing frustration, it’s easy to want to hide under a rock or continue on with your daily life. However, as a blogger with a platform, how should we go about handling a societal crisis?
Is it okay to stay silent during times of unrest? Or is it better to continue on with regularly scheduled content? What do you do if you don’t think addressing the current issues work with your brand? But you don’t want to be insensitive?
What is a societal crisis?
The definition of a crisis is a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger. Movements such as the recent D.C. riots, COVID-19 outbreaks, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and school shootings can be considered societal crises. So what is the right course of action for bloggers and influencers?
What should I do during a societal crisis?
First off, pause before you keep posting your content. To post pictures of your outfits, travels, recipes, etc. without acknowledging a tragedy is out of touch and disrespectful. There are folks trying to find more information on what’s happening, so be mindful of that before posting. Feeling like it’s not yet the right time to speak out about the situation is one thing. But you shouldn’t be so out of the conversation that you’re still posting regular content. Pause what you have on your schedule and wait to post it until appropriate.
We know you put so much effort into content and you have a schedule you try to remain consistent with. However, we've seen first-hand situations of people or companies with large followings ignoring situations and being destroyed because of it. Instead of being fueled by frustration when things are out of our control, we need to instead think about those that are looking to us during these difficult moments. Is what you’re posting insensitive and potentially harmful to someone affected, whether directly or indirectly?
If you have a sponsored post coming up we do encourage you to reach out to the brand, if they haven't reached out to you already, about postponing the scheduled content. This is not inappropriate and is highly likely that the brand will be very grateful for you being proactive about the situation. Pausing your content for an appropriate period of time is warranted and will protect your brand and theirs from any backlash on insensitivity.
What should I say during a societal crisis?
While we do suggest pausing your regular content until everything is resolved, it’s okay to voice your thoughts on the situation (as long as your thoughts are based on fact and aren’t insensitive). Here are some things to consider to help you formulate your own plan of action.
- You are a leader, you have an audience. Whether that’s 500 or 500,000. You have a responsibility, this is part of the job. Societal crises are bound to happen. As an influencer, it’s part of the job to address these situations with caution.
- You get to decide how vocal and how much of an advocate you want to be. However, insensitivity will hurt your brand. If that means pausing your content and keeping your opinions to yourself, that’s your decision. If that’s being vocal and sharing your opinions, that’s also your decision. It is vital to understand that having a platform can bring criticism, but using your voice and learning from those around you is better than staying silent & continuing on with normal life.
- Read the room and assess what others are doing—especially those that are directly affected by the crisis. Then you can decide what is best for your brand. The last thing you want to do is ruin your brand or reputation because of something you said—or didn’t say.
Resources & Information
Here are some other resources that have been helpful in our own education and knowledge of what to do when a crisis happens in our society.
- The Shine Online Podcast, Episode 26
- Government Educator Sharon McMahon (@sharonsaysso) for an unbiased resource on situations in the United States
- @AllSidesNow for different perspectives to see what all sides of media are saying
- SAMHSA’s National Helpline, a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
- Talkspace Blog, online therapy and resource for mental health