Written by: Karlee Ferris
Before COVID-19 (or, as we now say, B.C.), social media was continually evolving, but formulaic. If you did X, Y and Z, chances are, you would be successful. While we dream of A.C. (after COVID-19, you get it) days, we still need to find strategic solutions to propel our clients and partners forward.
Today, you will be hard pressed to login to Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or TikTok without being bombarded by posts about the pandemic we’re all facing. From brand messaging, to inspirational quotes, news articles and a never-ending supply of memes, we’ve seen it all. But what is actually driving engagement? While social distancing has become the ‘new normal’ for many, it’s no surprise that people are biding their time in quarantine on the internet and social media.
According to Statistica, 32% of Americas say they are spending more time on social media due to the coronavirus outbreak. With this uptick in social consumption, but not necessarily engagement, we’ve compiled five tips for engaging with your followers in an organic, thoughtful way during this crisis to drive business, build brand awareness and stay top of mind:
Stay Calm and Post On
With a tone-conscious lens, you can (and should) continue posting on your social channels. Social media is a comparatively low-cost, low-barrier-to-entry channel to reach your consumers with important, thoughtful messaging and updates. While your advertising spend might have been reduced or eliminated altogether, your organic social channels are still available. Don’t be afraid to post less content than normal and develop a strategy that differs from your traditional efforts. Being transparent and letting your audience know how your brand is dealing with the situation can go a long way. Keep the lights on while being thoughtful and sensitive with the type of content you deliver. Don’t forget: algorithms reward consistency.
How many times in the last three weeks have you heard the phrases, “we’re in uncharted territory” and “these are uncertain times”? Unfortunately, it’s true. There is no rulebook or case study for the situation we are in. What we do see performing well from brands on social is positive, transparent, and collaborative content. Ask yourself: what value can you add for your followers? This could be curated quarantini recipes, organizational tricks, WFH advice or even a simple Q&A to fill time. As a brand, it is best to avoid making light about the situation. A good rule of thumb is to imagine each post next to COVID-19 news. How does your messaging compare? If it feels tone-deaf, reevaluate.
Testing…Is This Thing On?
Responsiveness is key during a crisis. A study by Social Bakers found that brands posting about community and employee support have higher levels of engagement than normal. Consumers should also be able to reach out on social channels during uncertain times (see, there it is again!) to get answers. Even if your doors are temporarily closed, any incentive you can give for future bookings, selling online product or just engaging with your audience is worth the effort. As this crisis comes to an end, people will keep brands that were engaged and responsive top of mind.
Paying it Forward
Consumers are looking at brand behavior now more than ever. If you are able, consider doing something to give back to your community. Distilleries are making hand–sanitizer, hotels are housing healthcare workers and restaurants are offering meals to first responders. Reflect on the resources your unique business brings to the table and work with what you have. Social media is the perfect place to get that important message out. This may inspire other people to support and highlights your brand going above and beyond to make a difference. We are seeing a significant uptick in these feel-good stories across all media. Consider partnering with a brand-aligned company to amplify efforts and reduce costs.
Time for the Status Quo to Go
There is a huge opportunity connect more deeply with your audience and potentially reach new customers. With more people on social media right now than ever before, it is more important than ever to prove your value to them. Try something new and creative — have you been curious about TikTok or Instagram LIVE? Consider hosting a virtual happy hour, planning a giveaway, partnering with an influencer or sending products. According to Later, influencers are actually seeing higher engagement than B.C. on sponsored posts, which means it’s a good time to reach those audiences. Keep in mind authentic brand messaging. Be thoughtful and true to your brand as you are crafting this content.
We know this is a tough time for marketers and content creators. If you are looking for ways to ramp up your social media efforts during this time, we have you covered. Reach out to email@example.com for a free consultation and brainstorming session.