How to Use Social Media During the Pandemic
4 MIN READ
To be sure, we show our true colors during times of hardship. This applies to people and businesses. During the rise of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve seen businesses respond with varying degrees of compassion and solidarity. Our partners at #NatSecGirlSquad are doing an amazing job of keeping up morale by hosting numerous virtual events that are open to the public. But then there are those brands who are missing the mark and are the business equivalent of people hoarding toilet paper. We’re not ones to point fingers, but their emails about their COVID-19 “policies” (which are really just emails trying to sell you their products) have likely shown up in your inbox.
At Branch & Bramble, we believe that now more than ever it’s important for brands to practice awareness when shaping their messages and to use their social media platforms to benefit a world that feels scared and alone right now. Of course, this responsibility is not easy, so in order to help both your business and the community at large, we’ve gathered our best tips on utilizing your social media channels during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Revisit Your Strategy
With much of the world shutting down to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, it should come as no surprise that your marketing strategy will require a bit of reworking. Begin by taking stock of where you are now. What posts do you have scheduled out? What ads do you have running? If you have anything currently in the works that could be considered insensitive or tone deaf, now is the time to either remove or revise your messaging. If you normally post several times a day or week, consider limiting your posting frequency so that important messages from organizations like the CDC or WHO get more attention in your followers’ news feeds and don’t have to compete with your posts.
Get in Front of the Camera
It’s no secret that getting in front of a camera is terrifying for most people. But right now our communities are in desperate need of human connection, even if it is just a friendly face they can ask questions on Instagram or Facebook Live. What you talk about on the video doesn’t need to be particularly moving or profound. Host an AMA (Ask Me Anything) related to your industry or have another team member jump on Instagram Live with you to discuss your latest blog post and provide additional insights. By stepping out of your comfort zone you have the chance to help your followers who are suffering right now feel just a little bit better.
Promote Yourself Tastefully
While promoting your business is still necessary, make sure you’re doing so thoughtfully. There are two ways to approach this:
Incorporate a few posts that are “business as usual.” Talk about your brand’s mission, projects that you’re proud of, products that you sell, etc., but all within the lens of moderation and consideration. Businesses and people might be stuck at home, but many still are shopping and planning for the future when they’re not quarantined.
Show what value you can provide for people while the pandemic is going on. Our client, SmartSitting, is a leading expert in childcare and offered practical advice on how to survive the unexpected staycation caused by the coronavirus. By using your expertise and applying it to COVID-19, you’re acting as a resource to everyone out there who is scared and could use some extra help to get through this difficult time.
Be Cognizant of Your Language
With emotions high, it’s more important than ever to put extra thought into what messages you share with your customers and potential followers. Things that would have been fun to say prior to the pandemic, like “Her smile is infectious” or “We’ve got a fever and the only cure is horse racing,” are now highly insensitive. Err on the side of caution and avoid idioms or phrases that could be considered offensive. While it can be fun to occasionally get into lively debates on social media, now is not the time to add more chaos and frustration into the world.
Share the Positivity
Across different platforms, we keep hearing people say the same thing: is it okay to be posting happy things when the world is going through a difficult and scary time? At its heart, social media is a place to inspire, start conversations, and spread good news. That highlight reel that’s so often disparaged? Now is the time to focus on all the happy, wonderful things in your life and business. People want to feel hope. They want to see that there are still reasons to smile. As long as you set the tone with a preliminary post stating that you know it’s a difficult time but you want to continue to uplift and inspire, your followers will be thankful for the little bit of happiness you infuse into their lives.
Plan for The Long Game
Not only is the coronavirus impacting our health, but it’s also affecting our economy. This means that budget cuts might be in the not-so-distant future. Unfortunately, many businesses first turn to marketing when it’s time to trim the budget when really it should be the last place to remove funding. Marketing, particularly social media, is essential to cultivating a voice in a cacophony of brands fighting to be heard. When you remove marketing from your budget, you’re cutting your message off at the knees before it has the chance to reach where your customers are. Now more than ever, it’s time to invest in community building and expertise to make sure your business continues to stand if/when the economy takes a downturn.
KNOW YOUR VALUE
During the best of times, marketing and social media teams are under enormous pressure to prove their worth and the value that they bring to the company, and the bottom line. 70% of CMOs say that social media marketers cannot prove the value of their work. Revisit your tracking and reporting methods to make sure they are up to date and the data is accurate. Put unique campaign tracking on your activities during this time to measure brand awareness, engagement, website traffic, and conversions. If you haven’t set social media benchmarks and program KPIs, do that now.
Did you know that 1 in 3 people are already punishing brands based on their response to the pandemic? We took a look at the findings from the Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report and shared how you can safeguard your brand's legacy. Everyone here at Branch & Bramble is here to offer support and advice while we face the pandemic together. As always, feel free to reach out to us or find us on social media for any questions you have or advice you might need on your marketing plan.