You may be wondering how you should be handling your Social Media platforms during the Covid-19 crisis? There is no one perfect solution but as a business owner, you can have a look at our recommendations and take on-board the ones that suit your business best.
We hope that this will give you some ideas about how to manage your Social Platforms during the crisis.
1 | Hit the pause button and take some time to reflect
It’s not business as normal because nothing is normal about this situation. We will need a special approach to Social Media during the Covid-19 crisis. It is unprecedented and without anything to compare it to. Nothing like this has ever been seen before in our time. It is huge and acknowledging this from the outset can alleviate some pressure to keep business as usual. During this time of reflection, you could:
- Prepare a statement for your customers
- Check your scheduled post carefully through the eyes of our brave new world. If you use any scheduling marketing emails or automated email sequences, then now is the time to put them under the microscope and check that they serve your business well.
- Have a strategy and planning session to re-evaluate your services and products and to decide what the next few months might look like for you. Put your business into one of these three categories:
BUSINESS GAIN | There are some fortunate businesses who will see an uplift in sales during this time. A few ideas are food and drink, cleaning products, health supplements, wellness, on-line fitness, work apps, home-schooling resources, supermarkets, garden products, and sports shops. If your business stands to gain for the current crisis then you fall into this category.
BUSINESS NEUTRAL | Many of you won’t see any significant gain or loss in the short term. However, you are likely to see an impact in the long term as most businesses will.
BUSINESS LOSS | Small businesses are sadly likely to see significant consequences in the short term. If you don’t have significant cash to help you weather the storm, then it will hard to ride it out. A few ideas of business which will suffer are travel, hotels, pubs, cafes, restaurants, theatre, large venues, wedding venues, conferences, shops, Face to face training.
2 | What are your customers thinking?
What are they thinking? What are they most worried about? Your community will need all the empathy you can muster at this challenging time. Get inside their minds. It’s not just the daily worry about health it’s about how their day-to-day lives are being impacted.
Many of your customers will now find themselves at home 24/7 possibly looking after their families. The more information you have about your customers and their specific concerns and how they are being impacted by the crisis the more likely you are to respond on social media to their needs.
3 | Talk about the elephant in the room – Corvid-19 is here for a while.
Obviously, we are talking about Coronavirus. The last thing your customers want you to do is to carry on as if nothing has happened. Social distancing doesn’t mean that your business strategy should go into isolation!
Put your official statement out on Social Media and your website as soon as you can.
You could say something like this:
There is no such thing as ‘business as usual’ now. There is nothing usual about the unprecedented crisis that we are experiencing. We wanted to reach out to our customers and community to let you know that we will be active throughout the Coronavirus crisis period and we want to keep you up to date on what we are doing. Thank you for your custom and we hope that you and your families stay safe and well.
If you have put any supportive measures in place for your community then this would be the time to mention it. Create an edited summary for Social Media and use a comprehensive statement on your website. You could use a Twitter thread if you need more space, try a video statement or go Live on your channels. Then pin it to the top of your accounts.
If you have a very strong relationship with your audience, then it is a valid tactic to reach out to them to ask your customers and communities to help you at this time if they would like to see you survive.
4 | Have a Crisis Management Plan
Given the level of everyone’s anxiety and stress, it is not unlikely that if you continue to publish regular content on your channels you may have some negative comments. We have seen negative comments on posts and tweets from brands promoting their products and services. We all have a business we need to run so try not to let it upset you. It’s just a case of live and let live. For some people, the crisis will feel very acute and lack of perceived empathy will go down badly. Extra empathy across your channels and all marketing activities is a good idea. If you continue to trade during this time here are some tips;
- Responsiveness matters. Acknowledge comments with ‘thank you for sharing our concerns with us. Acknowledgment does not imply culpability but just that you are being proactive.
- Point people in the direction of your statement
- Respond with kindness. Everyone is feeling the stresses and strains of the situation and it can inadvertently make you defensive. Be calm and don’t let the keyboard embolden you!
- Take it from public to private as soon as possible. Social Media Crisis Management is not about winning an argument but its about damage control.
- Never send a third reply. This is now an argument. Just refer them politely to your last comment and offer a call or email with someone.
5 | Continue running your Social Media during the Covid-19 Crisis?
We have seen a lot of questions about whether businesses should continue marketing their products and services or even running their social accounts and we think that yes you should. Yes, you can and you should. There is no reason you need to stop, and businesses need all the help they can get and social is often a key channel for their marketing.
6 | Be even more human
Your business needs to be even more human. People do not want to connect with a faceless business that they can not form a bond with. We advise adding more personal elements to your marketing. Some ideas are;
- Have senior leaders and employees be more present on social.
- Do more live video as it’s a great two-way communication tool
- Share more behind the scenes business stories than usual including what you are doing as business around the crisis and how you are feeling
7 | Can your product add value through Social Media during the Covid-19 crisis?
If you are sitting in the ‘Business Loss’ category, then you might want to skip this part as you are probably busy just keeping our head above water.
If you are fortunate enough to be in the ‘brand gain’ category, then this is the time to focus on trying to add as much value to your community as possible. It may be that your product or service can shine at a time like this. You might be able to support suppliers by paying them early or you might have a product that lends itself perfectly to supporting people through. An example would be hand cream, anti-bacterial products or a beautiful gift to thank someone who has helped you. Sending a free gift to your loyal customers or offering a discount to NHS staff. Maybe you could take your service online? Think outside the box and have a remote brainstorming session with your team.
8 | Should you engage in conversation on Social Media during the Covid-19 crisis?
Everyone is talking about Coronavirus and we mean everyone. Social has been huge for extending the reach of these conversations in a way unknown before. Our advice would be to join in with these conversations. Not everyone will agree but that’s just how we feel. It would be hard to carry on running your social media accounts in a vacuum.
If your brand has no correlation to the virus should you still be posting about it? We wouldn’t suggest that you post facts and updates if they have nothing to do with you as it would seem a bit random. So what should you be doing?
It does depend on your business but there are some simple things that you can all do to manage your Social Media during the Covid-19 crisis. You could check-in with your audience and see how they are, how are they feeling, and can you give them any support? If you have some ideas about how to add value as above, then you could talk about this. If your business tone-of-voice lends itself to it then there would be no harm in using a bit of light-hearted humour. Innocent Drinks are always worth checking out https://twitter.com/innocent There are some very clever memes and videos out there that will make your audience smile. Be careful not to look like you are jumping on the Coronavirus bandwagon just to sell your product or service.
So that’s it. Out top 8 tips for managing your social media in the middle of the Corvid-19 crisis. We need to expect that we are in this for the long-haul, so businesses and consumers need to pull together for the good of the society. Social Media will be a key part of enabling this to happen
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