Plan For "Operation London Bridge" (the death of Queen Elizabeth II) (Laura Davis)

Laura Davis

Editor’s note: “Operation London Bridge” refers to Buckingham Palace protocol around the death of Queen Elizabeth II

In light of the sad news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, many social media managers across the globe are scrambling to work out what to do and when. Below is our best advice and guidance in dealing with this situation in case you don’t already have a plan in place with your clients.

1. Speak to your clients ASAP

They need to have a plan in place—you can guide them and advise them on it, but final decisions should be made by them. If you disagree with their decision, ensure you have that in writing so any negative reaction is not pushed back on you.

Regardless of where the brand is based, the Queen is beloved around the world so content should be sensitive regardless of where the brand is based.

2. Check where and how to pause any scheduled content

Go to your scheduler now and check you know how to do this. We have pushed all scheduled content back for a few days to give some breathing space to ensure we are not caught off guard. We will post all content manually over the coming days.

3. Do not post about this for engagement’s sake

A business does not need to acknowledge the news, and it would be inappropriate and insensitive to do so for engagement’s sake. Only post about this if it is highly relevant to the business.

Cases where this could be relevant include charities which the Queen is closely tied to, or businesses involved with events such as the jubilee or horse racing—which we know the Queen loved. Businesses unrelated to the Queen are likely to be seen as posting for engagement’s sake if they do not have a connection and are simply posting to acknowledge and share sympathies. This should of course be decided on a case-by-case basis. And if posting, there should be a plan in place to deal with any negative comments in relation to the post.

If events need to be cancelled in light of any news then it would obviously be acceptable to post to communicate this with businesses customers.

4. Consider scheduled and automated emails

Do you or your clients want to be sending emails at this time? Ensure they are appropriate—and consider pausing those, too.

5. Consider paid ad campaigns

Does the brand want to be seen promoting its products during this time? This will be a decision they need to make with your guidance. Ensure they understand where ads may appear—including below news broadcasts, etc.

6. Anticipate what will happen in the coming days and weeks

There are likely to be up to 12 days of mourning in the Commonwealth, and it is expected that there would be a funeral ten days after the passing of a monarch. Ensure you have factored that into your planning and consider the first post after the pause, and ensure that it is sensitive.

7. Turn on news alerts

If you do not have a news app on your phone, get one now and turn on alerts. Be ready to pause content. Also, check the general tone of the news and others on social media before posting or engaging anywhere online.

Laura Davis @thetwolauras
One half of The Two Lauras - supporting freelance social media managers to create thriving freelance businesses.
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For more guidance on crisis communications, see our Resource Guide.

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Does your organization have a crisis comms plan in place for major world events like this?

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My condolences to you and any of Her Majesty’s subjects. Thank you for writing out helpful tips on how to navigate this, as well as any other worldwide event or tragedy.