Throughout the year, brands and organizations try to post social media content that reflects current events, including holidays and commemorations.
Whether it’s wishing people a happy new year, a safe and fun July 4th, or a belly-bursting Thanksgiving, most of these posts are harmless.
However, certain events should likely not be touched, unless your brand has something relevant to add to the conversation.
Take, for instance, 9/11.
One of the worst days in the history of our nation, a definitely the scariest in my lifetime.
And brands fell all over themselves to commemorate the recent 12th anniversary of the attacks.
From the Los Angeles Lakers, to AT&T, to many, many others, countless brands used the #neverforget hashtag on Twitter. By and large, these Tweets were seemingly well-intentioned, but they caused a firestorm from the public. Just click the links and you’ll see how these posts upset so many people.
Here’s the thing: 9/11 is a deeply personal day that reminds us of the worst of humanity and the darkest of days.
Do the victims, survivors, and loved ones really feel better about the day if a cell phone company Tweets about it?
At best, the rare brand may have something relevant to add to the conversation.
At most, the company looks like it’s leveraging something meaningful to incrementally raise their awareness, even if the sentiment is authentic.
At worst, well, you can use your imagination and hope that the brands are in the “at best” category.
Sometimes, the best way to show that you care is to be silent and let people reflect. We know you lived through 9/11, too. And, like us, you will never forget. But nobody needs a brand to remind them to remember.