These are unprecedented times. While the future may be uncertain, there’s one thing that is right in the world of digital marketing and that’s social media.
Many companies are withdrawing from performing regular business activities in an effort to save money, abide by social distancing guidelines and mitigate business risks. But now might not be the time to distance yourself and your brand from social media. I know, personally, how terrifying it can be placing messages on social platforms and worrying that you’ll be perceived as flippant or insensitive.
However, people are on social media now more than ever, looking for respite or wanting to connect with friends and family during these tough times surrounding the coronavirus. There are two significant (and safe) angles you can take when posting to social media that will keep your brand relevant and top of mind, even during a crisis such as COVID-19 when everyone is taking strain.
1. Provide Honesty, Clarity and Transparency
One thing I learned when I worked for a large health system is that transparency works. We had a nurse that tested positive for Ebola and had visited our community. This left everyone in a state of fear and anxiety. We were one of the first health systems in the area to post a message of truth about the situation. While the news stations were bringing fear to our community, we took the opportunity to act as a source of truth. We provided a message explaining to everyone the real dangers (if any) and how we were preparing to cope with the consequences. This honesty and transparency of our communication got us more than 75,000 impressions and messages of thanks for assuaging fears. From this, I learned that being a voice of calm in a sea of turmoil can go a long way, even if we remained in a precarious situation.
How is your brand helping, preparing or coping in these times? What is your normal day like now during this global crisis? Now, more than ever, is the time to connect with your community on a personal level — we are all humans after all.
Pro Tips — 4 Ways Your Business Can Get This Right
Provide Real-Time Updates: Tell your fan base what you are doing to positively impact them or the community. A great way to do this is through video or photo updates.
• Find an Expert: You don’t have to be an expert, but share content from experts and authoritative sources who are reliable and trustworthy. Then include how your brand is adapting to incorporate the expert advice and guidelines.
• Admit When it’s Overwhelming: Your brand is created by humans for humans. Just like people all over the world, this time of crisis can be a lot for anyone to handle both emotionally and physically. Share your brand’s concern for the unknown and offer positive messages, hope or helpful insights. This will, in turn, show the human side of your brand.
• Always Tell the Truth: If you’ve been impacted directly, let people know so they heard it from you first. Transparency and truth go a long way, especially in times of uncertainty when rumors and assumptions can mount. Provide the truth and steps your brand is taking to be proactive.
2. Provide Entertainment or Value
The National Cowboy Museum had its “Security Guard” take over the organization’s Twitter account. This character shares information while the museum remains closed in a fun and entertaining way. Long after this period of crisis passes, we’ll remember the hilarious tweets from the museum security guard. We may consider a visit because of what the establishment did to keep people going in times of need. Often, we forget the premise of social media altogether — social media is, first and foremost, about connecting and being entertained. We are often so focused on making sales and finding leads that we forget the sole purpose of social media, a personable platform on which your audience can connect with your brand.
Pro Tips — 4 Ways Your Business Can Get This Right
• Provide a Unique Perspective: This is a great opportunity to share what’s going on behind the scenes. Share a hidden talent of an employee, a unique view that normal customers don’t get to see, showcase the cool ways your brand helps the community.
• Comic Relief: We’re all scrolling through social media daily and, more than ever before, many of us are looking for a break from the serious, information-heavy posts about the severity of the COVID-19 virus. Can you have someone take over your social media that would have a different perspective (like the National Cowboy Museum)? Can you make fun or silly videos that are slightly out of character for your brand (using caution not to be insensitive)? Or could you start a challenge and encourage your audience to join in and share their experiences?
• Entertainment: Games and trivia are always a fun way to entertain your fan base. Essential Tennis created a video of four rules for the game and one fake one. They recorded their team acting out the scenarios of the rules and shared the video on their Instagram account. They then had their followers guess which rule was the fake. The video was fun and the users kept watching to find the fake rule.
• Connect, Connect, Connect: Social media is about creating connections and building relationships. How can you connect more with your fan base? Hold a Q&A with your CEO or a behind the scenes figure in your company. Talk about what your brand is doing and where your goals are. Ask your fan base what they would like to ask you and answer their questions in an engaging video or in photo posts and stories.
Let’s use this time to return to basics. Are you building connections and maintaining relationships? Are you providing entertainment and value? Right now is a great time to re-evaluate your social media brand or persona if you’ve been hard-focused on leads, sales and conversions.
So, while you might be looking to scale back from social media from a business standpoint, now isn’t the time to do so. It’s time to connect, engage and share whether you’re a business, a brand, or a human being. Long after this difficult time has passed because of the coronavirus, we will remember the relationships we’ve forged and the fun that was had while in turmoil. You may not be making a ton of sales or gathering new leads, but it’s an excellent time to build on the foundations of business.
FPC’s mantra is “Relationship and Results”. Right now may not be producing a lot of results for you as a business, but think about it a little differently — Relationships then results.
Be patient. Stay well. This too shall pass
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