By Marcus Leach

Social media is often the first place we here of news in today's society, with Twitter being the hub of breaking news, both good and bad. The shocking and tragic news of the bombings at the Boston Marathon was no different.

What is different though is the way that various Twitter accounts reacted to the news, with a worrying number pressing ahead with various promotions and unrelated messages, but still utilising the hash-tag for the tragic events. This raises the question 'what is the correct etiquette at a time of tragedy?' We aksed Fran James of Fresh Content her views on the matter.

"Last night my newsfeed was inundated with breaking news and updates related to the tragic events in Boston. However, alongside the facts and well wishes I couldn’t help but notice a handful of brands continuing to promote offers, sales and giveaways," she explained.

"Now I understand that many of us who manage social media accounts for businesses and brands use the tweet schedule facility to save a little time and make our jobs a little easier, however promotional tweets and updates do seem rather misjudged and inappropriate at times of tragedy.

"Of course, the events in Boston last night aren’t the first tragedy to unfold whereby the social media activities and etiquette of brands has been scrutinised, this post outlines some particularly inappropriate and cringe worthy cases.

"So, what’s the solution? Anyone who manages a social media presence for a brand or business should take responsibility for immediately deactivating any scheduled messages when an event occurs.

"As a brand, it is important to avoiding social media indiscretions not only for the sake of the business and the way it is viewed, but also out of respect for those affected by a particular tragedy directly or indirectly.

"Above and beyond that, consider whether it’s appropriate to offer condolences or messages of support (sometimes it won’t be and silence may well be the best course of action)."

Join us on
Follow @freshbusiness