In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings on Monday, many took to social media to help locate loved ones and confirm safety, while brands spoke out, offering consoling thoughts along with offers of free services and aid to victims and locals affected by the attack — and then retreated to the sidelines, cancelling promoted tweets and Facebook status updates unless they could be of service.
In that vein, Google quickly developed a Boston version of its Person Finder tool, while JetBlue, Airbnb and other brands and businesses (big and small) that could help the distressed and stranded sprang into action. For some, like Adidas, sponsorship of the event led to an unfortunate juxtaposition with terror, as the brand’s logo and “All In” tagline was featured at the finish line, and thus the front page of the Boston Globe.
Ford’s head of social media, Scott Monty, tweeted some advice to brands for those unsure of how to respond—but sadly, with horrific events becoming more frequent these days, marketers are getting more adept at what to do (and more importantly, what not to do).[more]
If you manage social media for a brand, this would be a good time to suspend any additional posts for the day.
— Scott Monty (@ScottMonty) April 15, 2013
Monty highlights the sensitive situation faced by brands in the wake of tragedies, where in a moment’s notice, a promotional message can turn into an insensitive gesture. It seems like the resounding advice is to offer support or go silent.[more]
My advice to brands right now: Shut up. Either say you’re thinking of #Boston or just. Shut. Up. Turn off auto-posts. Cancel scheduled ones.
— Dean Browell (@dbrowell) April 15, 2013
That advice should have come earlier to @epicurious, which was lambasted on Twitter for what its social media manager later acknowledged was insensitive.
— Esteban Contreras (@socialnerdia) April 16, 2013
Our food tweets this morning were, frankly, insensitive. Our deepest, sincere apologies.
— epicurious (@epicurious) April 16, 2013
brandchannel would like to recognize those brands that have stepped up to offer support to victims and those that have shown solidarity with residents and visitors who are still reeling from the incident. If you’ve seen or heard about a brand helping Boston, leave a comment or tweet us @brandchannelhub.
— SPAT (@SPAT_UK) April 16, 2013
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) April 15, 2013
The Times is providing unlimited access to nytimes.com and mobile apps until 12:01 a.m. ET 4/16/13.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 16, 2013
We’re thinking of everyone in Boston. Travel options are available to those who’ve been impacted by this tragedy. bit.ly/ALERTAA
— American Airlines (@AmericanAir) April 16, 2013
Let your friends & family know you’re OK or locate your loved ones w/ Person Finder for the Boston explosions: goo.gl/jkH6H
— A Googler (@google) April 15, 2013
There is a nationwide effort among runners to share our respect for those in Boston. Join us by wearing a running shirt tmw! #unitedwerun
— UW Rec Sports (@UWRecSports) April 16, 2013
We’re doing everything we can to help diners and restaurants in Boston tonight. Check the site to see if your restaurant is delivering.
— GrubHub (@GrubHub) April 15, 2013
— Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) April 16, 2013
— twilio (@twilio) April 15, 2013
If you need urgent Boston accommodations, or can provide them: ow.ly/k5Xut
— Airbnb (@Airbnb) April 16, 2013
— NU Student Life (@NUStudentLife) April 16, 2013
— ASICS America (@ASICSamerica) April 15, 2013
— The Huntington (@huntington) April 16, 2013
BOS flights are on schedule. We understand if your plans may have changed and we’ve updated our waivers: bit.ly/ME6Gx4
— JetBlue Airways (@JetBlue) April 16, 2013
— NHL (@NHL) April 15, 2013
We’re shocked by the terrible news coming out of Boston. Our hearts & prayers to runners, spectators and their families at Boston Marathon.
— adidas Running (@adidasrunning) April 15, 2013
— GlobalGrind Politics (@GGPolitics) April 16, 2013
Our hearts go out to the victims and the families of those who were affected by today’s tragic events here in Boston.
— Samuel Adams Beer (@SamuelAdamsBeer) April 15, 2013
@funsizeddez Yes, we’ll be hosting tours for runners today.
— Samuel Adams Beer (@SamuelAdamsBeer) April 16, 2013
Even fierce sports rivalries were put aside:
Please join the Philadelphia Flyers and the Montreal Canadiens in a moment of silence for today’s victims in Boston.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) April 15, 2013
Thank you NY Yankees for playing ‘Sweet Caroline’ for the people of Boston. You scored a home run in my heart. With respect, Neil #OneBoston
— Neil Diamond (@NeilDiamond) April 17, 2013