Social Media: Your Brand’s Best Friend During the Coronavirus Pandemic

In clients’ eyes, social media often walks a fine line between hero and villain. Be the hero.

Use Social Media

Social media is your friend during this unprecedented time. For all the knocks it often gets, social media is our new normal, and we turn to it for connecting with loved ones and absorbing the latest news updates.

Staying genuine, transparent and in the moment, you have the power via social media to be there for your customers. Be there with information. Be there in real time. Simply be there.

Your audience is not only your customers. It’s also your employees. Your friends. Your family. Your son’s baseball coach. Your daughter’s science teacher. Suddenly the world is a lot smaller, thanks to social media. Use your power responsibly and effectively.

Be OK being transparent
Be OK saying you don’t have all the answers
Be OK saying you have challenges
Be OK saying we’re figuring this out along with you

Organization leaders are now your influencers. Let the CEOs, VPs, marketing managers use their position to communicate with your audience. Now more than ever, your audience wants to feel that you are truly part of their community. That the distance between the company president and the hourly worker is slim to none. No one will shame you for oversharing; they will turn away from your brand if they feel you left them in the dark.

You have the responsibility to be part of the solution. No, no one can dine in restaurants now, but restaurants can offer takeout. Support those small businesses around you. Lift up those that need a boost. Perhaps you are not in the restaurant field, but you can use your voice for the common good. Be the brand that does not use this international crisis to overtly grow your business. Be the brand that unites your customers, your employees in a common goal. No one will remember you for having an exponential profit during this time. People will remember what you did to help them and those around them. Do not treat this crisis as a “marketing opportunity,” and do not opportunistically link yourselves to the health scare.

But it’s OK to be successful without the bragging rights. People need jobs. People need products. It’s collectively understood that the business world must continue and persevere. It’s how you communicate that need that will show your brand’s promise.

Recently I needed (largely wanted) to order food for my family. Did I go to one restaurant’s website first? No, I went to Facebook to decide where to pick up from. Social groups are forming that share local restaurants’ carryout and delivery options. On another front, people are taking in pets as fosters from local shelters while the shelters must limit visitors. SOCIAL MEDIA IS YOUR FRIEND. Use it.

Audiences

For B2E (employee communications), your primary goal should be showing support and providing information and education about the company’s policies and current state of affairs.

For B2C brands, give helpful, practical tips. Link social posts to yours and trusted third-party content to continue to show your human side and stay connected to your audiences.

For B2C hospitality brands, provide tips and ensure customers know up-to-date policies as they unfold. Planning for travel for me is just as exciting as the actual trip. Deciding the destination. Picking the places to see. How will I get from A to B. What’s the local currency. Inspire customers to plan for the bright days ahead.

Tips

People are creating neighborhood parades to celebrate birthdays. People are making memes that are ridiculous but accurate. Be a responsible part of the global conversation. Here are a few tips:

Go live (with a plan). Share what you’re doing. Show your workforce and how they are getting things done with social distancing. You would be amazed at your customers’ interest in knowing how you’re persevering during this time.

Be human. Authenticity is critical right now. Make sure to double-check that your tone and messaging are relevant, uplifting and inspiring.

Share local tips. Do you know of approved healthy activities that your audience may not know about? Share them! We all need relief.

Use Instagram stories. No one expects perfectly executed stories. Stories are your chance to be human. Show vulnerabilities. Show that we’re all just as broken and perfect at the same time.

Create a challenge. Have you checked out Joe Buck on Twitter? He’s calling for home videos so he can do play-by-play of people’s indoor activities. I’m on board!

Show empathy. While many are suffering, an understanding mention from time to time of what they are going through can mean everything. This is a critical time and brands should consistently provide support and empathy. It’s more than just a check in here and there.

Monitor. Give all your previously scheduled and pending social posts a second look as a “gut check” to make sure the humor or sarcasm won’t be inappropriate.

Optimize. Push for stronger website optimization as more of your customer and vendors rely more on e-commerce and digital content. Expect digital customer service to step up, including your social media accounts. Make sure community managers are standing by.

BE AUTHENTIC. BE HELPFUL. BE THERE.

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