In the wake of COVID-19, the landscape of digital marketing is changing even faster than usual. As the Coronavirus continues to dominate news coverage, it’s never been more important to understand your audience: their attitudes, their concerns, and their fears. With rising uncertainty over what the future has in store for us all, one wrong move on social media could send your brand in a downwards spiral. Fast. Engaging in tone-deaf messaging or insensitive content is a surefire way to lose trust and devalue your presence online. Remember, now is the time to empathize with consumers, not sell to them.

 

For many, this is uncharted territory. This content shift signals a massive upheaval from brands’ usual marketing strategy. At a time when more people are online and engaged with digital, the right choices will make all the difference in the weeks ahead. If you’re unsure of where to begin, we’ve put together a list of our top tips for brands to add value to audiences without looking opportunistic in the face of a global crisis.

Practice Sensitive Posting

 

Being content-sensitive is key to weathering the COVID-19 social media storm. If you’re an expert on health, then you’re definitely more qualified to speak about virus prevention or protection. If you’re a software company? Not so much.

 

We get it, the urge to weigh in on the Coronavirus is huge. You want your audience to know you’re aware of what’s going on, and that you’re taking all the necessary steps to safeguard your employees and customers. If you go about it the wrong way, you risk losing credibility and will come off as exploitative in the process.

 

Using current events, community updates or news stories related to the Coronavirus for purely promotional purposes will not resonate well with your audience. Now is not the time to announce a sale, and when it comes to engaging with viral content, brands need to be especially cautious.

 

So how do you talk about the Coronavirus on social media? In short, stay in your lane!

Become a Trusted Advisor to Your Customers 

 

Just because you need to be careful about what you’re posting in the midst of this pandemic, doesn’t mean you should ignore it altogether. Customers are looking to their trusted brands now more than ever for guidance, and providing it should be a top priority.

 

Begin by looking at channel-specific guidelines for a general overview. Then, focus on company updates: let your audience know what you’re doing internally to keep your employees and customers safe and healthy, and what that means for business continuity. A sign of a good company is one that takes care of its employees. Use this opportunity to give people insights into what your organization is about.

A sign of a good company is one that takes care of its employees. Use this opportunity to give people insights into what your organization is about. Click To Tweet

 

Next, “model the way” (one of our very own Core Values at Social Tribe) by supporting your local community. If your brand is involved in community impact initiatives, especially related to Coronavirus, this is a unique opportunity to share it and engage with your audiences. From luxury fashion houses to e-commerce giants to the biggest names in tech, there are so many good news stories about brands doing their part to aid in the crisis… and you won’t risk a backlash from your audience for adding to or sharing them!

 

Most importantly, don’t forget to add value. You’re used to competing with industry counterparts to create that ‘thumb-stopping’ post. But at this moment in time, you need to understand that people aren’t responding to click-bait, they need genuine support. Whether it’s a bit of comic relief or some helpful resources, make sure everything you’re posting is with intention and purpose. This is the time to walk a mile in your customers’ shoes, understand their experience and market accordingly. Brands that get this right will naturally stand apart from the noise.  

People aren’t responding to click-bait, they need genuine support. Whether it’s a bit of comic relief or some helpful resources, make sure everything you’re posting is with intention and purpose Click To Tweet

In other words, use your expertise to add specific knowledge to current events and become trusted advisors for the people who regularly come to you for content. Customers want to see that the brands they follow share their concerns about business continuity, employee safety or service delivery. Here’s what that could look like on social media:

 

  • Split-screen interviews with industry experts and leaders, either pre-recorded or live.
  • Dedicated, live Q&A sessions on social for your audience to ask their Coronavirus-related questions, within the context of your business or industry
  • Thoughtful content that shares a ‘behind the scenes’ look at what your brand is doing to address COVID-19
  • Avoiding off-topic and unauthentic content, and focusing on discussions that inform not confuse your audience

 

In this rapidly evolving situation, we’re all learning together. Still, it’s important to stay on top of your content strategy on social to protect your brand and keep your audience engaged. Remember that in times like these, it’s compassionate thinking and value-oriented content that will leave the biggest impact.

 

Looking for some more guidance? Stay tuned for the second part in this blog series!