Social Media Dos & Donts: September 11

September 9th, 2016

Update notice: For our 2023 advice, visit The Dos and Don’ts of Posting on 9/11.

This Sunday marks the fifteenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Many of us have children who were born post, 9/11 – according to LoHud.com, freshman high school classes are now the first generation of students who were not yet born when the United States was attacked in 2001. 

Around this time each year, leaders and brands begin to make the decision on how they will commemorate this day. They also question whether it’s appropriate to draw attention to any other topic on September 11 at all, even if it is an extremely positive one. For example, this Sunday is also Grandparent’s Day – a “fun-filled”, family event that has occurred on the first Sunday after Labor Day ever since then-President Jimmy Carter signed it into law in August of 1978.

So how do companies show respect and highlight other positive events taking place, such as Grandparent’s Day? 

Through our research, we’ve found that many organizations are actually encouraging conversations about both of these topics. They’re planning to highlight the connection of love and family with the immensely life-changing events that occurred in the United States. This two-pronged approach is aiming to facilitate conversations with grandparents and their families about the gravity of 9/11 – especially now that many of these grandchildren weren’t even alive when it happened.

Bozell’s suggestions:

  • Plan to publish a post about September 11 on your social channels. Perhaps early in the morning, so your community can share and be part of this important conversation. Example: Today, we honor and remember the lives lost on September 11th. 
  • Later in the day, if you’d like to be part of Grandparent’s Day, you could invite additional conversations with a second post. Example: Happy Grandparent’s Day! How are you celebrating the special people in your life today?

All in all, before posting about this event, brands and businesses need to know their audiences and develop appropriate posts based on their fan base.

The best piece of marketing advice (which may seem obvious, but unfortunately, still isn’t to some advertisers): Never connect September 11 to a sale. Ever.