As many of us are scrolling through social media, we’re inundated with posts of people sharing their experiences, feelings, and the information they’re finding about COVID-19. This way of communicating is powerful and drives us to connect as a community.
For businesses, though, how exactly does your brand fit into these conversations? With the need to maintain social distancing, adjusting your social media marketing plan is more critical than ever to maintaining a strong connection with your audience. Below are five tips that can help you adjust your social media strategy and make meaningful connections with customers during a time of crisis.
1) Adjust Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
You worked hard on your marketing calendar, and it can be difficult to postpone or cancel projects, but it’s more important to be mindful of what’s going on than to just push through and stay on course.
Listen to your audience and what they want. Try to determine how you can solve some of the problems they’re facing rather than acting like they don’t exist.
Gyms like Life Time Fitness, for example, have had to reevaluate their strategies for increasing memberships to focus more on how can they keep their current members moving while social distancing. Instead of going silent or only posting about facility closures, they’ve turned to offering daily workouts for all of their social media followers to take advantage of. Doing this helps build the brand’s trust, which could then increase the long-term value of their members and potentially garner new members when it’s safe to return to the gym.
Warrior Sculpt is now on #LTOnDemand!
Join us for a class that combines cardio, strength, and yoga-inspired movements. Head to https://t.co/EaSI7Co6Rb to join a class today! #LoveYourLife #WarriorSculpt pic.twitter.com/YgNCeFJ6ke
— Life Time (@lifetimefitness) March 21, 2020
Another example of brands trying to help rather than go quiet is with major entertainment companies like Disney. With movie theaters closing temporarily during COVID-19, Disney took the opportunity to send the highly-anticipated Pixar film Onward to streaming just a few weeks after its wide release in theaters. This decision to change the original release plan and utilizing social media marketing to promote the release has only strengthened Disney’s brand with consumers.
2) Be Prepared to Communicate Openly
No matter what you do with your marketing strategy, always be upfront about any changes to your hours, offerings, or services. Provide your customers or clients with as much information as possible in posts without adding to any panic. Being proactive about keeping people safe is helpful, as it shows you care about them. Don’t post clickbait or put essential info behind paywalls or lead forms—now is not the time to focus on increasing organic web traffic.
Make sure that you’re also listening to your customers and considering their feedback. By increasing your focus on your current customers, you’ll be able to develop social media content that’s relevant for them. In addition, let your customers know what times you’re available and actively monitoring your social media pages. One of the best ways to do this is by setting up an away message in Facebook Messenger.
3) Show How You’re Helping
While it’s important to adjust your current marketing strategy, it’s just as important to maintain the connection you have with your customers. Show them that your bottom line isn’t what’s most important right now. This is the time to show that your business cares about your customers and your employees. You want customers to know you’re not just going about business as usual.
Ally is a great example. They understand that paying bills is going to be difficult for a lot of people who are staying home from work and losing jobs due to COVID-19. That’s why Ally Bank put out an announcement that they would be waiving fees until July and have offered the option to hold off on auto loan or mortgage payments for up to 120 days with no late fees.
We’re committed to helping those impacted by COVID-19, including offering payment deferral options for Ally customers.
— Ally (@Ally) March 20, 2020
Target is another good example. They announced that they would be offering assistance for their team members. In their announcement, they explain that they’re providing an increase for all hourly wages through May 2, 2020, and they’re offering the option to receive full pay for 30 days for team members who are 65 and older, should they choose to stay home during this period.
Target’s investing more than $300 million, including increased hourly wages, a new paid leave program, bonuses and community assistance for local, national & global organizations responding to the pandemic. More here: https://t.co/bu1y3JjMPC pic.twitter.com/lKc9beRxkU
— Target News (@TargetNews) March 20, 2020
Sharing these updates with your customers is crucial. Not only does it show them that you’re taking this crisis seriously, but it also shows them that your brand is more than just your bottom line.
4) Support Your Community
Demonstrating your support for the community can help give a sense of hope during these uncertain times. By coming together and working through COVID-19 changes, businesses and communities can unite and provide for one another.
In Seattle—an area that’s been hit hard by COVID-19—many of the city’s largest companies, executives, and even regular community members have begun donating to a fund called All In Seattle. Since its launch on March 23, 2020, the fund has raised over $27 million for local nonprofit organizations that plan to provide meals to community members, helping small businesses, supporting local artists and independent workers, and even providing housing assistance.
We’re proud to launch #allinseattle, an initiative that helps those who are in danger of going hungry, losing housing, or losing a small business due to COVID-19. $27M kick-started the effort – join us! Visit https://t.co/22ny574x2f. #allinseattle #seattle #coronacrisis pic.twitter.com/HkgNX5MTFX
— allinseattle (@allinseattle) March 23, 2020
In addition, bars and restaurants across the country have been taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by stopping dine-in services. But even with no dine-in options available, they’ve found a solution to switch to takeout and drive-up options that allow them to keep their doors open and provide meals for their local communities. This also allows customers to support their favorite eateries in return.
5) Reinforce Your Brand Values
It can be tempting to avoid posting or only share official information during this time. But it’s okay to continue upholding your brand identity and your sense of community. By using your unique voice to reaffirm your core values, you can help customers navigate this difficult time.
Nike has long used simple copywriting and bold imagery to their advantage. They most recently used their iconic black on white design to stress the importance of social distancing during COVID-19.
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Locally, we’ve seen Elkhorn Traning Camp, a youth athletic training facility in Omaha, reinforcing their core values of developing young athletes by offering free classes through Facebook Live.
No matter what you decide is best for your social media marketing strategy during COVID-19—whether that’s scaling back or ramping up—make sure that your customers come first.
If your business needs help during this time, Hurrdat is here to provide support. Contact us today if you need assistance maintaining your social media presence!