In the past, I’ve recommended strict rules about social media use.
Don’t argue politics. Stick to neutral topics. Be aware of your readers’ differing opinions.
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
I’ve not only broken my own rules, I’ve shattered them. Yes, you heard me correctly.
You see, during the worst fire in California’s history, which occurred in my community, a lot changed around here.
For one, the way I kept in touch with the majority of friends during this time was through Facebook.
How could I, in the face of many friends’ tremendous loss, post empty quotes and information about my blog posts? It wouldn’t have made any sense.
So I got down and dirty, so to speak.
I expressed my sorrow for their tremendous loss. I shared my feelings. I expressed gratitude for my giving community. I posted about needs in my community.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, it was during this period that I joined the #MeToo crusade on Facebook, exposing formerly tightly held secrets.
All of this ran against my self-imposed rules and inhibitions.
Safety for Me Was Being Milquetoast
You see, until that fateful week, I was pretty milquetoast online. It was safer for me to be that way.
On Twitter, I had delved into some social issues over the loss of too many black men at the hands of white cops, but even my foray into that controversy was pretty safe.
I merely liked some posts and shared one or two of them.
Recently, however, I completely let loose.
I even posted a comic that stated, “My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.”
I related that comic to how I feel in the morning when there’s more news about what President Donald Trump is doing to this country.
Under normal circumstances, I never would have posted that comic or a negative word about Trump. Mind you; I would never call a Trump supporter a moron (like one of my friends has) or use any other derogatory term.
But I’d had it. I’d had it with the fires, with the loss, with everything around me turning to ashes. So I dipped a toe into politics and received 31 Likes and many comments.
I didn’t post the comic to win any likeability contest. I’d just had it with my world in every sense.
What did I learn? Well, the lesson that the more personal you are on Facebook, the more engagement you’ll have proved to be true. Engagement was high on my posts.
And I learned something about my friends I hadn’t known before. One friend merely commented with #MeToo. She didn’t elaborate and didn’t need to. I understood. Others elaborated more.
Above all else, people want to get to know you on Facebook. They don’t just want to read inspirational quotes. They want to know how you’re feeling.
In my case, they wanted to know whether I lost my house? Was I okay?
When I went to the gym today, people asked me, “Are you okay?” They used to just say hi. Now everyone wants to know “how you’re doing” meaning did your house catch on fire.
So you see, life’s not the same around here, and my life on Facebook has changed too.
5 Social Media Lessons During Times of Crisis
From my own experience, I offer these lessons:
- During times of crisis, stop marketing your business and blog posts and share what you’re going through.
- Relate to other people, especially those worse off than you.
- Don’t be afraid to reveal how you’re really feeling.
- Give as generously as you can, both online and offline.
- Forget about the usual rules about using social media. Just be real.
Frances Caballo is a social media strategist and manager and the author of six books on social media. Click here to schedule an appointment with her.Interested in marketing a book you wrote? Visit Frances at SocialMediaJustforWriters.com.