During these tough times, it’s difficult to think about your social media strategy. But businesses should be using social media now more than ever. It’s important not only for keeping customers engaged, but for providing them with updates and valuable information. During the many changes that the pandemic brings, it’s important that your audience is informed and in-the-know.
Millions of people are working/schooling from home and staying under lockdown. So, it’s no surprise that social media use is on the rise. By July 2020, social media saw a 10.5% increase compared to 2019. Consumers are spending a lot of time on their phones and laptops, exposing themselves to new platforms and businesses that they were never aware of before. For big and small businesses alike, now is the time to adjust your social media strategy so you are seen.
We get it. There are a million unanswered questions during this pandemic. And we admit, we don’t have the answers to a lot of those questions. But what we do have is a solid guide for adapting your social media strategy during these tough times. If you’re a little lost on what to do during COVID-19, you’re in the right place.
Here are 5 ways to adapt your social media strategy during the pandemic.
1. Acknowledge and accept the situation
There’s no use denying it: we are in a global pandemic. Your audience probably doesn’t want to see you pretend that all is well and continue advertising as if nothing has changed. It’s best to acknowledge that this is a very real and serious situation, and accept that things will be different from here on out. This includes how you market and use social media. As things change, you’ll need to focus more on educating your customers rather than selling.
Letting your customers know that you are aware of the situation will make them feel like you are connected and on top of things. The way your company reacts during these times will tell them a lot. Take, for example, multinational company Johnson & Johnson. When COVID-19 was labelled a global pandemic, Johnson & Johnson not only acknowledged the situation, but did their best to help by establishing a relief fund. Their efforts resulted in a 61% rise in positive mentions from consumers on social media.
Even if you’re a smaller business that is unable to contribute as much as Johnson & Johnson has, letting your audience know that you are taking the situation seriously can really help with building trust.
2. Stay transparent
One way to really connect with your customers during the pandemic is by being as honest and transparent as possible. Being authentic during these times will allow your audience to deeply connect with your brand. Adjust your social media strategy to show that you are not just a faceless company. When you bring a personal, human aspect to your image, it improves customer relations and builds your reputation.
In the example below, Amazon kept it real by posting a picture of their employees social distancing in the workplace. It’s not an overly-extravagant or posed photo, but it lets their customers know that they are taking action.
Don’t be afraid to show your audience if you are struggling, too. In most cases, they’ll appreciate your honesty. They’ll probably find this type of content relatable. You can create a connection based on the experience that most of the world is going through right now. Remember, we’re all in this together!
3. Provide support and comfort
With a lot of the world’s population being isolated at home, many people are feeling lonely and disconnected. So, one way to change up your social media is by posting comforting and supportive thoughts. You can create content that allows customers to comment and interact with each other, such as a post that asks “How’s your quarantine going?”. This will not only increase engagement on your social media account, but also create a sense of community amongst your following. It’s a good idea to communicate back with your followers, as well. Like their comments, or even comment back to let them know you’re listening!
One example of a company that used their social media to create a sense of community is Coca-Cola. They provided hope for their followers during the pandemic by sharing stories to their Instagram about random acts of kindness:
You can also put out content that entertains your customers. Make them laugh, smile, or feel hope in humanity with warm stories and pictures/videos. And above all, stay calm. Be a pillar of support for your customers during the pandemic. These actions will strengthen your relationship with customers and cause them to view you positively.
4. Experiment with new content
These unprecedented times are actually the best time to try something new on your social media accounts. You can try out a new app, platform, trend, or type of content. For example, LinkedIn reported that video app Tiktok was one of the most downloaded non-game mobile apps at the start of the year, and its usage increased tremendously during worldwide lockdown. If you aren’t already using Tiktok to advertise your products or service, there’s no harm in trying it out now.
The NBA adapted their social media strategy to include Tiktok in a way that would keep their followers entertained during quarantine. Their success is no secret; they’re already massive on other forms of social media. Their Twitter is mostly for quick news and updates, and their Instagram for video highlights of recent games. So, the NBA decided to use Tiktok for comedic short videos of their athletes. They’ve amassed more than 10 million followers, making them one of the biggest brands on the app.
There are plenty of opportunities to explore new content that engages your audience. These fresh methods of interaction will keep your customers attentive and interested, and may lead to conversions in the future. When the time comes for them to purchase something in your industry, you’ll be the first brand they think of. And if you try something new that’s a hit, you can make note of it in your books for future use 🤓
5. Be prepared
Things are changing constantly, and without warning. Be ready for anything, and let your customers know that you are navigating this experience as best as you can. Of course, it’s impossible to see into the future of the pandemic. So there’s no use in doing extensive planning. All you can do is prepare yourself and your company to change at any moment.
You should be using social media to keep your followers updated with how the COVID-19 situation is affecting your business. Have your hours changed? Are masks required in-store? Are you only providing takeout and delivery? These and many other questions can be answered via social media. Many of your customers will turn to the Internet before contacting your business directly, so it’s best to put that information out from the beginning in a way that is easily accessible.
All this being said, don’t let a fear of the unknown keep you off social media. Make your company ready and available to consumers. Keep your accounts active so that you aren’t forgotten once the crisis ends!
Extra COVID-19 Resources
Like we said earlier, we’re all in this together. If you’re struggling to manage your social media during these times, we’ve compiled a list of resources created by some of the biggest names in the social media industry that may be able to help. You can check them out through the links below:
- Twitter: Brand communication in time of crisis
- LinkedIn: Tips to Share Your Insights and Experiences on LinkedIn
- Instagram: Keeping People Informed, Safe, and Supported on Instagram
- Slack: Adapting the way we work when offices need to close
- Sproutsocial: Managing your mental health while working in social media
If you’re looking for someone to completely take the weight off your shoulders, you can contact us at SH1FT, and we’ll do all the work for you.
Take a breath, stay calm, and keep posting!