As we mentioned in our earlier post, The Role of Marketing in Crisis and Recovery, everyone is online right now. People are consuming content and engaging with material more so now because they have lost other ways to connect. Social media is a major way that individuals interact with brands. As we emerge from a crisis like COVID-19 where there is permeating and varied public reaction, brands have more opportunities to send powerful messages and foster community support on social media.
In extra sensitive times, what kind of messaging should you produce for social media?
- Become more than a brand. Think about how you can humanize your brand’s voice and facilitate digital connection with and among your audience. Show empathy and be sensitive. If you’re not sure where to start, look to your brand’s values. This will help keep the message true to you.
- Share what you’re doing. It’s what social media was originally created for, really. What changes are you instituting as you emerge from this crisis? Use social media to let your audience know. Play around with types of posts by sharing a mix of photos, videos or infographics. But remember, whatever content you post should consider the context of your situation. For example, while we are still impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, smart brands refrain from using visuals of crowds or people touching.
- Keep your audience informed. For many, social media is also a source of news. However, be careful not to insert yourself into a conversation where you don’t belong. Your followers are wise enough to see through a “buy my soda to solve a social issue” gambit. There are plenty of resources out there, so be cognizant and know your place. If you do choose to discuss current events, make sure you share information from trusted, credible sources and use language in agreement with the AP Stylebook’s guidelines.
- Be true to you. Of course, you’re not going to pretend to be an expert if you’re not. Now think about what you CAN offer your audience. What’s unique about your brand? As we mentioned before, start by humanizing your voice. Be personable, share employee-generated content, talk to your followers’ pain points, and steer the conversation toward ways your business can help. No matter what you choose to post, the foundation of your content should be helpful and authentic.
- Mind your tone. In the times surrounding a crisis, remember to be careful what you say and how you say it. First off, do not take advantage. When there are large groups of people suffering, you will likely lose followers if they feel you are trying to capitalize on the situation. Avoid tactless promotions; you don’t need to boast that you’re back in business and doing extremely well, when so many are not. Instead, as recovery begins to spread, continue to default to humility and empathy.
Remember, you don’t have to create a movement or a worldwide hashtag to be effective on social media. For most brands, continuing social media marketing demonstrates consistency and reliability that will give your audience a sense of comfort. We’ll post more marketing strategies and advice next week!