There is no denying we are living in unprecedented times. For professionals, friends, families and global citizens, we’ve each come to see how the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped our daily lives.
In times like these, people look to each other and their community for reassurance and support. Whether you’re running business-as-usual or have had to pause operations, many business owners are asking themselves, “what can I do to stay engaged with my prospects and customers?”. Rather than become discouraged by these newly found (completely necessary) restrictions, I suggest we use it as an opportunity to become more creative.
Social media has become an integral part of everyday life and is a wonderful communication tool to use in 2020. With each day that goes by as we practice social distancing; social media is becoming an even more important outlet than ever before. As many of you have noticed small businesses and big brands have adjusted their social media strategies to be more empathetic and informative.
So, what does social media look like in the coming weeks and months? How should you represent your business? I’ve compiled a list below of basic social media etiquette guidelines to follow during this pandemic.
1. Don’t Abuse the Situation
A global pandemic is not something that should be capitalized on. There are many who have lost their jobs or have had hours cut. Although business isn’t “as usual”, you can still post, create social ads and run digital campaigns. Keep in mind as you’re running these campaigns you MUST add an extra layer of empathy and compassion. Don’t use COVID-19 as a platform for self-promotion.
2. Pay Attention to Your Audience
Social media is all about being social, right? This means you can’t treat your online community like a one-way street. Using social listening tools, look at how your audience is interacting on various social media platforms. Seeing how your audience is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will help you determine what kind of content to post, how and, most importantly, when to post it. Some ways you can get your audience to share information includes email newsletters, Facebook and Instagram Lives, or simply monitoring the content your followers are putting up about COVID-19.
3. Reconsider Your Current Social Media Strategy
Social media has always been an ever-changing landscape. In the midst of this pandemic, I suggest taking a close look at your strategy through Q2 and pivoting to accommodate the new environment. This is a good time to reflect on 2020 goals and set new ones for the situation we are currently facing. For example, a new customer acquisition campaign may need to be paused and replaced by a customer retention campaign. Now is the time to develop a new strategy that shows your online community that you are there to support and help them however possible.
4. Respond to Comments, Direct Messages (DM’s), and Reviews Quickly
It’s always important to be timely responding to comments, DM’s and reviews, but in a time of uncertainty it is even MORE important. According to a report by Coversocial, 94% of followers expect a response within 24 hours. During this time of uncertainty, you can almost be certain that you’re going to hear more from your online communities. Service industry businesses like restaurants and hotels will most likely see a higher increase than others. I cannot stress enough the importance of getting back to people within at least an hour (unless it is in the middle of the evening). The reasoning behind this is simple: if you don’t response quickly, people will think you are closed or no longer in business.
5. Help Stop the Spread of Misinformation
As much as we all love the Internet and social media, there is a dark side and that is how easy it is to spread misinformation. Many of us have good intentions and may see an article or video that seems legitimate and hey, why not share it because everyone else did….STOP! A basic known fact about social media is that these platforms themselves are a business. Therefore, the algorithms that decide what content you see are going to feed you information that will most likely keep you on their platform longer. Although many of these platforms are working hard to stop misinformation from being widely spread, they cannot catch everything. Before reposting do you research. Check and see if the CDC, WHO, local government or reputable mainstream news source is sharing this information.
Although we are living in a time like none of us have ever seen before, remember, there’s always a silver lining. Social media is a powerful tool that allows us to connect and celebrate what it is to be human. As a Digital Consultant in Tampa, FL who specializes in Social Media, I invite each and every one of you to get creative, stay positive and use social media for good.