How to handle your social media during the coronavirus crisis

As the corona crisis continues, so do its effects on all kinds of businesses. Many companies have had no option but to temporarily close as an immediate response to government restrictions and the rest have been forced to change their ways of operating rapidly. However, as discussed in our recent video, this shouldn’t mean that all marketing efforts should be halted, but rather amended to suit target audiences who will want to hear from the companies they care about while they have more available time to connect. Not only this but social media, in particular, will be a go-to source for users striving to keep in contact with the outside world and keep up to date with the latest news and opinions. When things return to normal, the last thing a brand wants is to be forgotten because their media presence wasn’t strong enough to prevail. 

Therefore, in order to stay at the forefront of customer’s minds while on hiatus, or whilst enduring a period of transition, companies should maintain a valuable social media presence. Remember to remain relevant, keep dedicated followers informed and spread positivity during an uncertain time. 

Here are some tips on how to use social media platforms wisely during this critical period. 

Adapt your messaging to reflect the climate 

The unparalleled success of social media is largely down to its ability to give everyone a voice, no matter how big or small; resulting in users sharing thoughts with like-minded segments of the community. Therefore, it isn’t difficult to see why companies that are amazing at keeping their content relatable and sustaining meaningful connections tend to thrive on such platforms.  

The situation we currently find ourselves in is likely to be the biggest challenge of a generation. Understandably, at a time like this, many people will be worried about their future, and most will be saddened by the suffering they see across the world. Therefore, given its vast importance, your consumers will be looking to you to address the subject. Make sure you do so in a careful manner. Use social media pages to dispel uncertainty; discuss company news and changes, spread positive messages and invoke conversation within your virtual community. Bring people together while they’re apart.

This doesn’t mean avoiding humour if this is a common practice on your socials. However, ensure your jokes don’t offend and stick to light subjects. Be dynamic and utilise your social media pages to keep in constant contact with followers as news changes quickly; and ensure that in all of your latest live streams, videos and images you’re adhering to government guidelines – keep your distance! Your followers will want to see your company leading by example. 

Focus on user-generated content to involve your customers

We already know that user-generated content plays a significant part in many a seasoned company’s social media strategy. Mainly due to its ability to act as a bridge of trust between a business and its everyday consumer. And, although a company already using this method correctly is likely to see success on social media, more than ever this is a smart way of connecting. 

Many people are currently in a similar situation. Therefore, your user-generated content has more chance of being relevant to a larger group of people if you angle the content in the correct direction. This ultimately means more eyes on your product or service and potentially, an affinity with the brand for the long-term. 

There are multiple ways to encourage UGC. For example, a photography brand could enlist a brand ambassador or influencer to set an indoor photography challenge for followers to undertake (add in a prize, if you can). Alternatively, if you’re working on behalf of a charity, develop a catchy hashtag that will encourage users to send in silly pics in aid of your cause. 

Ask the audience!

As mentioned, this is an incredibly sensitive time and given that the situation is continually changing, your audience will be experiencing all different types of emotion. It is vital to remain aware of this and adapt. Social channels offer a platform for two-way conversation; businesses are able to interact with their audience around the clock, and so, are in prime position to understand what followers want to see and discuss. Due to the gravity of the situation your viewers will expect a slight change from the regular content you produce, as long as you remain on brand, there is no harm in gaining a little help in figuring out what it is that they want! Luckily with the use of polls via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Stories, you’ll be able to get a feel for your fans’ preferences and general mood. 

Regularly poll your audience using Instagram stories if you use the channel. For example, every couple of days, you could ask whether they want to see more positive affirmations or more memes. Almost all brands can make use of polls like these. Tech brands can ask if people want to see more tutorials or more reviews. Photography brands can ask viewers if they’d like to see more indoor photography tips or more advice on how to print from home. The content you produce for the least favourable option at the time can be banked for another day. Making your audience feel heard will undoubtedly set you apart from the crowd when it’s needed the most. 

Build a strong community

Facebook Groups are continuing to grow in popularity, and this is as good (if not better) time as any to jump on the bandwagon if you think this will be of genuine value to your audience. It is vital to build solid relationships through social media, as users, especially those with interest in a niche sector, will savour the chance to discuss their passion with peers, learn specialist tips and inevitably, at a time like this, share support and advice with one another.  This is in line with a step towards a more intimate conversation on social. More people are messaging privately and using stories where the content disappears after 24 hours. Groups give brand enthusiasts a semi-private space to converse with people they have shared interests with, which certainly helps to put users at ease. 

A perfect example of this is print specialists Fotospeed’s Facebook group Photography and Printing Tips and Tricks. The group serves a particular section of society – mostly people who earn their income through freelance photography and those who enjoy photography in their spare time. Notably, with restrictions on events and outdoor activity, these people will find the time that was filled with shooting before is now empty and will want to find ways to make use of their time. This has resulted in an influx of content from members who are sharing tips and seeking advice on printing from home, indoor photography and their general concerns regarding the current situation. As the old saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved; having a trusted outlet to share your feelings is always invaluable, especially in a situation such as this. 

Put a face to the name! 

Those who aren’t strangers to social will know that video content is being pushed across all of the leading platforms. Users are paying attention to video more than ever for multiple reasons. Mainly since it is an effective way of explaining things simply, something that text doesn’t always allow for. And so, now is the best time to start experimenting! Not only will this help in your quest to beat the social algorithms, but it will also act as a way for the audience to maintain a connection with the outside world. 

Just as video calling is being hailed for warding off loneliness, filming in one’s own space can give your users something to look forward to and a sense of belonging. It will also help to develop a sense of intimacy and trust with consumers who will have a vested interest in you, what you have to say and how you’re dealing with the current climate. 

The thought of going on video can be unsettling for some. You may fear you’ll fluff your lines or may not come across confident on camera, but that all adds to the charm. Consumers buy from relatable brands, so don’t feel intimidated into thinking that your debut has to be perfectly polished. As discussed earlier, intimacy spells authenticity, which will keep your audience loyal. 

Another tip for the super brave is to go live! Live video gives your audience a chance to ask questions in real-time, watch along with fellow followers, and allows you to shout them out as they join, which can really make someone’s day. For those isolating or social distancing alone or without much interaction, this can help strengthen spirits! 

There are multiple ways to use social media to engage your audience from day-to-day. However, during this unprecedented period, when many are seeking unity, escapism and have more time on their hands to participate, it really is crucial that you are adapting.

If you need advice on how to utilise the social media platforms best for your business, get in touch with us today. 

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