See How to Adapt Your Social Media Strategy During a Crisis!
Does your social media strategy include what to do during a crisis?
With the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it’s a good idea to re-evaluate your social media strategy. Studies show that many people are on Facebook right now, and that means more chances to connect with customers.
A social marketing strategy that adapts itself to the current situation will boost the credibility of your businesses online. You don’t want panic and push out information that’s not helpful. But if you adapt well, you can stay relevant while maintaining your brand awareness.
So, how can businesses use social media during a crisis?
Frontier Marketing is here to help! We excel in helping small businesses navigate social media, no matter the situation. Here are nine ways you can adjust your social media strategy during a crisis!
1. Pause Your Current Campaign
Do you schedule your social media posts in advance? This practice can be a helpful time-saver during normal times. But during a time of crisis, the first thing you should do is put those posts on hold.
After all, what you scheduled last month might not be appropriate for this month. And sending out those irrelevant posts is a surefire way to turn people away!
During any kind of crisis, you want to make sure your posts are relevant and appropriate. If you continue posting as if nothing has happened, you come off as tone-deaf or not understanding.
2. Focus on Empathetic and Positive Posts
Speaking of tone-deaf, how do you avoid that? Social media for small business owners can be a powerful tool to connect with people. But you want to strike the right tone. Otherwise, it can come off as uncaring and uninformed.
On the one hand, you want to provide posts that are relevant to stay connected with customers. On the other, you don’t want to be too off-putting or casual about the situation.
After all, your customers are going through a lot right now. Their main concerns are likely about unemployment and the health of their loved ones. So, the last thing they want is to be bombarded with promotional posts from uncaring brands on social media. Instead, they’re looking for connection and empathy.
So, the question is, how should a business practice empathy on social media?
Empathetic posts can be as simple as telling your followers you are there for them. They can be posts about how your business is shifting to help them. It humanizes your brand and shows that you’re not capitalizing on the situation. That’s why you’re avoiding promotional posts.
Likewise, positive posts can be uplifting and bring a bit of light into darker times. Inspirational quotes work well. You can also post uplifting news, as long as it’s from a reputable source.
3. Shift to a Customer-Focused Approach
As you shift your social media strategy, you need to focus on the customer. Your new posts should be geared toward the well-being of your followers.
Even though your business might still be open, it’s not necessarily the time for over-the-top promotional posts. And if you’re business has had to temporarily shut down, now is a good time to build those customer relationships.
An easy post to build that connection is a check-in post. Ask your followers how they are doing.
If you can reach out to them and show that you care, even when it’s not related to your business, it builds that relationship even more.
Focusing on your customers during this time will help you in the future. When everything is over, customers will remember the brands that put in time with them online.
4. Resist Overused Phrases and Words
“In these uncertain times” is one of the most commonly used phrases right now. It perfectly summarizes the situation and lets the reader know they are talking about the current crisis.
But it’s overused. It’s been beaten to death by company after company who use it in all of their advertising.
Your social media strategy should make you stand out a little more. This phrase, along with others, should only be used sparingly.
Instead, you want your social media to be valuable to your followers. Telling them something they’ve heard before doesn’t add value. In fact, it can cause them to zone out or skip over your posts entirely. So, try to come at the situation from a new creative angle to make your voice heard.
5. Show Support for Your Community
When a wide-spread crisis like the coronavirus or a recession happens, it has a major impact on local communities. As a small business, chances are you’re a staple within your community. So, it is essential that you show support for your region on social media.
You can do this by highlighting what your community has been doing on your social channels. Your customers will rally behind posts like that because it is their community as well.
You can also look for ways you can support your community through your social channels. In the case of the coronavirus, we’ve seen many small businesses provide valuable social media content to help their community.
For example, we’ve seen gyms host live exercise videos so that their members can work out from home. We’ve also witnessed other businesses producing free educational content on their areas of expertise. So, if you have a skill set that can help people, post about it on social media. Your followers will appreciate the support!
6. Expand Your Content Ideas
The current crisis has certainly created a lot of new opportunities for content. After all, with so much uncertainty, people are looking for new ways to cope with this reality.
How can your company add to this new conversation on social media?
This is where knowing your customer base comes in handy. Who supports your business? How can you continue to help them during a crisis?
Again, this is about shifting the focus away from your business and to your customer.
Is your customer-base mostly stay-at-home parents or kids? Try doing posts about fun activities they can do while at home. Or you can offer up advice on how to talk with their kids about what’s going on.
Likewise, if you now have a lot of customers working from home, you can share tips and tricks on how to survive working remotely.
No matter what social media content you decide to produce during this time, make sure it’s valuable and educational. That way, your customers will appreciate it and react positively to it.
7. Be as Transparent as Possible
During times of crisis, people have questions. Obviously, you won’t be equipped to answer every question. But you should still be as responsive and helpful as you can to show your customers you care.
Is your business closed? Are you offering select services? Think about what questions your customers are likely to ask and publish posts answering them ahead of time. If you’re proactive about giving out updates, your customers will appreciate it.
Transparency about what’s going on with your business is key. Your customers want to know how the business is doing because they care about it. After all, there’s a reason they support you. Offering updates, as well as any major changes, can reinforce that trust between you and your customers.
8. Avoid Sharing News Updates
There’s a lot of misinformation being shared these days. If you’re sharing news that isn’t coming from an absolutely trustworthy source, it can be damaging to your brand.
Instead of sharing news updates, keep your focus on the customer. Your customers are most likely not looking to your brand for every kind of crisis management on social media. By keeping your posts to relevant topics for your brand, you can avoid spreading misinformation.
In sum, while you definitely shouldn’t ignore the situation, you should make sure whatever information you put out there is accurate.
9. Update in Real-Time
Your social media strategy during a crisis is going to have to be flexible. Situations can change quickly, and you need to adapt.
If you’re scheduling your posts out a month or two weeks ahead of time, it can be hard to stay relevant.
Instead, we recommend posting in real-time during this crisis or only scheduling a few days in advance at most. This way, you will have the latest information and can keep current with what’s going on.
We also recommend coming up with a master list of post ideas.
For example, decide each week how many times you will post. Then decide what topics you’ll cover. Maybe you do a post about supporting your community. Then your next post can be a more informational post.
Posting on social media during a crisis is a balancing act. You want to provide the best information possible while not being insensitive.
For more information about adjusting your social media strategy during a crisis, check out this video below:
Do You Need Help Adjusting Your Social Media Strategy?
Frontier Marketing loves to see small businesses in the Chicago region succeed. A crisis is difficult on a lot of businesses, and social media may be the furthest thing from your mind. But we want to help make it easier.