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Brand Partners: How To Manage Social Media During COVID-19

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Marketing teams, Social Media Managers and Brand Creatives… we see you. We know that in addition to managing your own anxieties, (and family needs) the brands, to which you devote the best of your abilities, must now also navigate this crisis with your help. We know your colleagues need you; your brand partners are counting on you; and, your customers are watching. It’s a tricky moment for everyone, but we’re all in this together. We’re here to help.

First of all, does your social network really want to hear from your brand during a crisis?

Yes, they do. But, the global conversation has shifted; the stakes changed; so, our social posting activities need to pivot to better align themselves to the prevailing context of the moment.

Our consumers (as you know) consider the brands they follow to be trusted partners. They will look to our social channels for clues about how their trusted partners (our brands) are also facing this crisis. This is no time to go dark. However, this moment does require from each of our brands extraordinary care, solidarity, and humanity.

You know your brand’s purpose and social tone. We know you’re keeping pace with developments. Let’s gather our resources. Let’s distill our combined knowledge into what resonates most purely. And, let’s walk our brands steady through this crisis together.

What is the true prevailing human context of this moment?

As we know, the pandemic is the primary concern of the entire planet right now. We are increasingly seeing it addressed (on our social networks and beyond) through the lens of many economic concerns and political negotiations. That’s the ‘noise.’ Push that to the back for now. Those are important concerns, but that’s not really the business we’re in.

We are in the business of providing solutions; of building trust; and, of creating meaningful relationships. Our brands need to be the ‘signal’ not the ‘noise’ across our social channels – now more than before.

The true human context of this moment is more immediate, deeper, and personal.

  •  How is your brand going to help me and my community face this crisis together,  remain healthy, aligned, up-lifted, inspired, and ready to press on?
  •  How will your brand honor my time and attention during this time of uncertainty and fear?

Let your social thinking pivot to this new human context – don’t steamroll past it, left unaddressed. Creatively reaffirm the “trust’ your brand has built and your brand will retain its presence, relevance, and trust across your channels.

  • Remember that a direct affirmation of ‘empathy’ and ‘trust’ from a brand need only be expressed once. (before it starts to feel suspicious) However, ‘empathy’ and ‘trust’ can be positively reinforced many times with endless ‘creativity.
  • Know that soon enough your social network will pivot towards an evolved new context. Reaffirming ‘trust’ now will ease all upcoming transitions during this period.

Let’s quickly chat about why (and then we’ll get into what to do)

Let’s remember that this is primarily a health issue. It’s life and death for many of our fellow human beings. Our brands really need to be #TeamHumanity right now. Helpful. In the fight. Mindful. Empathetic. Compassionate. Positive. Informative.

There just isn’t much more collective headspace available at the moment for more than that.

Imagine members of your brand’s social community asking (in their minds) the following questions about your brand:

  • “Do they care about me?”
  • “Do they care about their employees?”
  • “Do they care about their community?”
  • “Can I trust them?”

How will your posts, shares, videos, stories, etc. help your brand address these questions across your social networks?

Here’s how to manage your brand’s social channels during this crisis

In times of crisis, people want credible information and reliable companies. People are looking for information; connection points to calm their fears; and, they want your brand’s emotional support.

  • Now is not a good time to sell unnecessary products. It’s more of an opportunity to share solutions and show empathy.
  • If your brand can help your social audience through the coronavirus crisis by sharing actionable, educational or reassuring content, then it makes sense for your organization to do so.
  • Anything you share about the virus must link to a valid source, such as the CDC or World Health Organizations.
  • Use #coronavirus hashtags only when posting content relevant to the conversation and your brand.
  • Check your paid campaigns. Are they appropriate for this particular time? For day-to-day content, is your content noise – pure marketing, push not pull – or is it useful in some way?
  • Embrace social listening, as well as engaging and supporting your community where they are at.
  • Keep a brief, positive tone in your copy, but remain especially careful, caring and empathetic with humor.
  • Everyone wants to feel a part of something, and to not feel alone. Reach out and reply to a tweet, comment on an Instagram post or share a user’s Story.
  • Look at the response from your industry. What are others doing that you admire?

Start there. See what kind of creative social content this helps you to generate on behalf of your brand at this moment. We may well be navigating the effects of this pandemic for quite a while into the future. Let’s remain calm and steady, but let’s be ready to adapt to all possible conditions as they develop. We are connected. We are #TeamHumanity. We are all in this together.

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