As most of the country remains under a stay-at-home order, social media is surging. Some business owners may be tempted to put their marketing and social media on pause, but businesses need to remain engaged and agile in responding to the changing landscape of increased usage and new consumer needs. If you are not, your competitors are, and they will happily connect your (former) audience with their brand, products and services.
Many customers are looking for ways to be social, during this period of social isolation where there are myriad opportunities to connect, build brand loyalty and, depending on the business, increase online sales.
Here are 15 tips to adjust your social strategy.
- Consistent Voice, Appropriate Tone. While maintaining your brand voice, ensuring your content is on target with the current environment and regularly reassessing the tone as dynamics change. What was working two weeks ago isn’t necessarily appropriate today and what works today may not be okay in two weeks.
- Avoid insensitive language. WordStream provides some common words and phrases that prior to COVID-19 were completely harmless but now are may be insensitive: Killer (as in a “killer deal”), Contagious (“how to create contagious content”), Health or checkup-related terms (“give your budget a pulse check”), Contagious, and Infectious.
- Communicate where you are. Update your business information about the measures you are taking keep your employees and consumers safe, changes in hours or if you are temporarily closed. – Facebook reminds clients that you can pin any of these service changes or closures at the top of you page.
- Support your community. Share on-brand community support initiatives led by your company, your employees, your clients or your community. During a recent PPRA webinar on Social Media During a Crisis, Kyle Huff, Social Media Specialist at the Philadelphia Convention Center and Visitors Bureau, shared how they are highlighting community initiatives including the GPHA COVID-19 Hospitality Workers Relief Fund.
- Serve as a resource. Share your expertise, thought leadership or on-brand resources. The Furia Rubel team has taken a proactive approach to help clients and our community navigate through pandemic-related issues and manage through these difficult and uncertain times by developing a Coronavirus Crisis and Resource Center and launching a podcast, On Record PR.
- Provide education. Create written content with frequently asked questions and highlight blogs that provide insights within your area of expertise. Host live stream or video discussions, lectures and webinars. The attorneys of New Orleans-based law firm McGlinchey recently presented a webinar Q&A on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
- Connect with kids. Many children are at home and looking for engagement. Consider career chats about your line of work, create a healthy challenge or on-brand activity. This will likely win you bonus points (and loyalty) with working parents as well! Pine Run Retirement Community recently launched an on-brand activity, Spread Some Sunshine, asking children and those young at heart to brighten the day of seniors by submitting artwork on their social media.
- Solicit content. When new photos or videos are in short supply, asking your audience for content can help engage users with your brand, engage with you and provide you with content to post/repost. Pine Run Retirement Community’s Spread Some Sunshine generated several posts of engaging content.
- Create a two-way conversation. Open a two-way conversation, post simple questions or use functionality like polls or stories. Just be prepared to engage and respond in a timey manner.
- Explore new platforms. If you have always wanted to try TikTok or Snapchat, now is a great time to test out a new platform or expanding your existing options for example you may launch your first Facebook or Instagram
- Experiment with video. Audiences have never been more familiar with internally developed videos, conference calls and in office (or in home) recorded content. Now is a great time to test the waters. Ask your team to see if you have someone who can serve as your internal expert.
- Launch a new organic campaign. It’s a perfect opportunity to go through old photos and launch a weekly #TBT (aka Throwback Thursday) campaign, or re-purpose testimonials into a weekly #TestimonialTuesday. Philadelphia-based law firm Laffey Bucci & Kent recently launched their #TestimonialTuesday
- Evaluate advertising campaigns. For some businesses, advertising campaigns are keeping the business afloat and employees busy, for others it may be counterproductive or not applicable depending on your industry (events, tourism, etc.). Evaluate the language for appropriateness (see #1 on tone) as well as realities of budget and cost savings.
- Keep approved content for the future. While it may feel like all of the hard work developing a content calendar and approvals has all been for nothing. It’s great to tuck this away for the future. While we don’t know exactly what it will look like, if nothing else it gives you a strong base from which to work.
- Keep tracking*- It is important to keep tracking and reporting your key performance indicators (KPIs) while putting the asterisks next to the months associated with COVID. No one is sure if the changes we are seeing will be long lasting or if it will revert to pre-COVID standards. Social analytics can help shape your strategy moving forward.
Connect with your audience and explore opportunities for your social media during this time. Maintaining communications, trying new things and building engagement now will help set the stage for increased brand loyalty and engagement in the future. Brands that connect with their audience will be top of mind when we start the transition to recovery.