3 considerations for effective social media management during a crisis
With the COVID-19 pandemic presenting unprecedented challenges for brands, effective social media management is now more important than ever. A poorly managed social media presence can quickly turn into irrelevant or insensitive content during a crisis – a time when consumers are looking to brands for comfort and positivity. Social platforms afford brands the ability to connect with consumers in a time when physical connection is harder, and businesses who are successfully delivering relevant and human social content are reaping the rewards now and in the future. Here are three key considerations for effective social media management during a crisis.
- How do we address the crisis?
While COVID-19 is understandably dominating many social conversations, the truth is that most brands don’t belong directly in a COVID-19 dialogue. Understand that your customers will now be faced with fresh concerns about their physical and financial health, putting them in a different mindset when it comes to consuming social media content. Ensure any response that directly addresses the crisis has been considered from all angles, putting your customer and their situation at the forefront.
Sensitivity to any social messaging that appears to be profiteering or capitalizing on the current situation is incredibly high, and the damage missing the mark on content could have in a time of crisis is incalculable. But there is a fine line – not addressing the current situation at all may lead customers to perceive your brand as uncaring or ignorant. While there is no one-size-fits-all playbook to addressing a crisis, considering how your wider brand values and purpose will play into how you address the crisis on social media will ensure your messaging is authentic, reminding consumers why you are their brand of choice.
“Brands that have been doing this well to date are showing a more human side. They’re demonstrating empathy, offering utility, sharing how they’re giving back to the community, and also fostering positivity within their own online communities. Whether your company is directly addressing COVID-19 or not, there’s an opportunity to embrace this type of approach to fit into your social media strategy.”
Andrea Flanders, Director of Social Media at Tag.
- What are our consumers looking for?
Consider the reason your customers visited your social channels prior to the crisis and whether this has now changed. Not every brand needs to adapt a serious, somber tone of voice during this time, nor does the current crisis mean you have to halt your social activity altogether. Many consumers now have more free time at home which they are increasingly spending on social channels, presenting a renewed opportunity to build a closer relationship with your consumer base through considered and thoughtful content. The key here is sticking to your core value proposition – are consumers coming to you for health advice or to escape from the 24-7 news cycle? Where can you add value to your consumers in a way that is sincere and meaningful? What does your brand want to be remembered for in this time of crisis?
“As consumers find themselves spending more time at home, their behaviors, habits, needs and interests have shifted. It’s about understanding this shift in need-state, adapting your content strategy and messaging accordingly, and then continuing to monitor how consumer needs and conversations evolve as we make our way through different stages of this crisis, and adapting alongside them. As an example, there was a 71% increase in Canadian conversations on Twitter about baked goods and desserts in the second half of March. Based on these insights and reactions from the online community, we’re working with one of our CPG clients to pivot their social media strategy to offer more utility and inspiration around baking at home and drive more online engagement which is encouraging fantastic user-generated content that the brand can then re-share.”
Andrea Flanders, Director of Social Media at Tag.
- Are our current plans still relevant?
Even the most well-thought-out marketing plans will likely need to be amended in times of crisis. When reevaluating your planned social media campaigns, ensure you are considering any content against the dual lens of relevancy and sensitivity. Give consumers a reason to continue engaging with your brand on social media, but be wary of heavy sales-focused messaging, or any content which may seem inappropriate in current times – such as depicting close contact, hand shaking or large gatherings.
“In these extraordinary times, it’s worth re-looking at all your current and upcoming marketing content to ensure it is relevant and sensitive. Customers will remember the brands and companies that stood by and supported them, and those that tried to capitalize on and profit from the situation.”
Ng Ju Ann, Director of Digital Strategy at Tag.
At Tag, we partner with brands and agencies to facilitate end-to-end marketing solutions. Our team of social and digital marketing experts provide marketing strategy, creative ideation, CRM, social media management, data driven marketing, content, analytics and optimization capabilities to our clients.
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