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5 Tips For Using Social Media During COVID-19

The current COVID-19 pandemic has put into sharp focus the importance of communicating with consumers during a crisis – and doing it at speed. As a result, social media has become one of the first places consumers go for the latest news and updates (besides the media of course), thanks to its ease of access and its ability to be updated in real-time. 

However, since brands and consumers are more connected than ever through social, the same reasons that make social so powerful can also be the reason it causes further problems if done incorrectly.

Here are five guidelines that will help you communicate effectively on your social media channels during both COVID-19 and other crises – from natural disasters to technological failures.

Monitor your social channels regularly

Empathy is essential in a crisis and understanding what everyday people are saying and feeling is key to this – particularly in a crisis such as COVID-19 where livelihoods and human life is affected. Take the time to regularly monitor how your audience is reacting and gain an understanding of their sentiment, concerns and enquiries as this will shape both your responses and tone of future content. 

Constantly monitoring your social channels is not only important for tracking public views and sentiment as a crisis unfolds, but also for identifying and addressing any topics or areas of concern before they escalate. To do this, ensure that you are responding to these comments and concerns with the correct information in a timely manner – where possible, within 1-2 business hours.

Sprout Social and Mediaportal (which also tracks media coverage) are two great tools that can assist with social monitoring and listening.

Communicate clearly and have answers to FAQs prepared

Ensure that your brand has pre-written responses to frequently asked questions specifically for social media. Having these responses readily available will not only assist with replying to queries quickly but will also guarantee that messaging from your brand is consistent.

The key messaging and information in responses should align with all other forms of brand communication to ensure there is a unified message from your brand. All answers should be tailored to social media – responses should be informative and brief yet clear. Most importantly, they should not be tone-deaf, and appropriate to the situation – remember, empathy goes a long way. 

Finally, your FAQs should be a living dynamic document. As COVID-19 or other crises evolve, make sure that your responses are still relevant and up-to-date and that responses to commonly asked questions identified on your social channels are added or updated. 

Keep your audience informed and safe

During any crisis is when your social media community needs you the most, as people use social media as an easily accessible way to find out news from both media and companies. 

All-important news and announcements should be shared on the relevant social media channels as soon as possible – tell people what you’re doing as a brand to help them. As a general guide, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are best used for consumer-related news whilst information relevant to employees and stakeholders should be shared on LinkedIn.

Information about relevant policies or activities that your brand already had in place pre-crisis is also a good idea to share proactively to reassure people and maintain brand trust. Delta Air Lines has been doing a great job of this: 

Taking care of you is our number one priority. Learn more about how our Reservation Sales and Customer Care team’s commitment to serving customers has not wavered during these unprecedented times.

Posted by Delta Air Lines on Sunday, 22 March 2020

Be respectful when creating content

This is a time more than ever to be mindful about the content that your brand is posting. 

If you haven’t already, pause all scheduled content and take a moment to relook at your content calendar and ask yourself whether it’s appropriate for the current environment. Reconsider whether each piece of content is absolutely essential and, if so, tailor them to the changing needs of your audience. Take the time to check that every component of the post has an extra layer of care and compassion. 

Do this regularly – like many crises, the situation around COVID-19 is moving quickly and what may be appropriate one day may not be the next. 

Most importantly, don’t leverage COVID-19 as an opportunity to promote the purchase of a product or service – particularly on social media. It will appear insensitive and opportunistic, and you may soon find your brand under intense social scrutiny.

Develop content that can help your followers

As we’re seeing across the globe, crises can unite and bring out the best in everyone – and social media plays a large role in making this happen. Take this time to use your social channels to build a sense of community by understanding how you can help and inspire people during this difficult time. 

Be creative – all social media platforms have an array of useful tools that can be used to make peoples’ lives a little easier during a crisis. This could include streaming Q&As and demonstrations with brand experts or ambassadors (InstagramFacebookLinkedIn and Twitter all have live streaming tools) or simply providing useful tips and tricks through eye-catching visuals that debunk myths and minimises the share of misinformation. 

Here are a couple of great examples:

En attendant l'original.

Posted by Burger King France on Monday, 30 March 2020

As the above explains, social media can be a powerful and cost-effective way to inform, engage and inspire your community during a difficult time. However, knowing how and what to share with your community is paramount. When communicating during any crisis, ask yourself these three questions: what information might people need right now? What can my brand do to help people? Am I showing respect, understanding and empathy to the situation?

Please get in touch if you need support during COVID-19 or would like to know more about how we can help you with social media communication.